By Jeff Hecht
City of Light tells the tale of fiber optics, tracing its transformation from 19th-century parlor trick into the root of our international communications community. Written for a wide viewers by means of a journalist who has coated the sector for 20 years, the ebook is a full of life account of either the folk and the guidelines in the back of this innovative technology.
The simple notion underlying fiber optics was once first explored within the 1840s while researchers used jets of water to steer mild in laboratory demonstrations. the assumption stuck the general public eye many years later while it was once used to create lovely illuminated fountains at the various nice Victorian exhibitions. the trendy model of fiber optics—using versatile glass fibers to transmit light—was chanced on independently 5 instances throughout the first half the century, and one among its first key functions used to be the endoscope, which for the 1st time allowed physicians to seem contained in the physique with out surgical procedure. Endoscopes turned sensible in 1956 whilst a school undergraduate chanced on tips on how to make strong glass fibers with a tumbler cladding.
With the discovery of the laser, researchers grew attracted to optical communications. whereas Bell Labs and others attempted to ship laser beams throughout the surroundings or hole gentle pipes, a small workforce at commonplace Telecommunication Laboratories checked out guiding gentle by way of obvious fibers. Led through Charles okay. Kao, they proposed the belief of fiber-optic communications and established that opposite to what many researchers concept glass can be made transparent sufficient to transmit mild over nice distances. Following those principles, Corning Glass Works built the 1st low-loss glass fibers in 1970.
From this aspect fiber-optic communications constructed swiftly. the 1st experimental mobilephone hyperlinks have been demonstrated on stay phone site visitors in 1977 and inside of part a dozen years long-distance businesses have been laying fiber cables for his or her nationwide spine structures. In 1988, the 1st transatlantic fiber-optic cable hooked up Europe with North the US, and now fiber optics are the main aspect in international communications.
The tale keeps this day as fiber optics unfold throughout the conversation grid that connects houses and workplaces, growing large details pipelines and exchanging copper wires. The ebook concludes with a glance at a number of the interesting capability advancements of this expertise.
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Extra info for City of light: the story of fiber optics
Surgeons could thread similar cables down the throat to examine the stomach. By the time RCA’s patent department ﬁled an application the following August, Hansell had added another potential use that was a closer match to RCA’s electronics business—a ‘‘picture transfer cable’’ for facsimile transmission. Newspapers were the main customers; they wanted to transmit news photos around the globe, just as they could wire articles by telegraph. 25 Hansell thought he could speed image scanning by using several ﬁbers instead of a single light collector.
One was sending an image through an array of parallel tubes, transparent rods, or clear ﬁbers. Baird was groping for ways to scan images. ’’ Collect the tubes like a bundle of drinking straws and they can transmit images point by point. Baird had learned the patent game well, so he wrote his application to cover many variations on the idea. Among them were ‘‘thin rods or tubes of glass quartz or other transparent material. . The rods . . ’’9 38 CITY OF LIGHT He never got that far. In 1927, he collected 340 metal tubes two inches long and a tenth of an inch in diameter, and stacked them in a 17 ϫ 20 array that he used to scan an image.
If they were scrambled at the transmitter, they would have to be scrambled in the same way at the receiver or different lines would appear in the wrong places, jumbling the entire image. ) Yet despite Hansell’s uncanny vision, there is no evidence he went much further than writing down his ideas for the RCA patent department. 26 He was an energetic man but a busy one; not yet 30, he directed research at the RCA Rocky Point Lab. Imaging was peripheral to his job of developing new radio transmission systems, and the often-modest Hansell never worked up enough enthusiasm to push it.