Introducing Fiber Optics

Project Description

How do we send information over light around the globe at the speed of light? Fiber Optics and total internal reflection!

Grades: 6 to 12
Duration: 1/2 Hour – 1 Hour

Supplies: Laser Pointer or Laser Blox, Lumi Rod

Featured Products
Lumi Rod

Lumi Rod

Laser Blox

Laser Blox

Introducing Fiber Optics

Step 1

Explore Total Internal Reflection

If you look at the right angle, a transparent angle can reflect light better than any mirror. To observe the phenomenon, point the laser into the acrylic block so that it enter s at an angle. Adjust the angle until you notice that the beam no longer passes through the block, but reflects off the inner edge just like in the image.

Attachments: Introducing Fiber Optics.pdf

Instructor Tip:

Download the attached .pdf for the full lesson


Step 2

Find the Critical Angle

Using a protractor to measure the incident and reflected angels, find the angle at which no beam is transmitted and nearly 100% of the beam is reflected,. This is the Critical Angle.

Step 3

Observe Light Transmission

Total internal reflection helps transmit telecommunications data along optical fiber s. Any light that is not aligned parallel to the axis of the fiber hits the wall of the fiber and is reflected (totally!) back inward, since the angle of incidence with which the light hits the wall is much larger than the critical angle . This prevents the signal from weakening as it travels a long distance.

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