History of Fiber Optics
Fiber optics may be considered a new emerging technology, but the concept has been in existence for centuries. The concept of transmitting light in a controlled method through a directable media goes back to the late 18th century.
1854- John Tyndall demonstrated that light could be conducted through a curved stream of water, proving that a light signal could be bent.
1880- Alexander Graham Bell invented the 'Photophone', which transmitted a voice signal on a beam of light.
1880- William Wheeler invented a system of light pipes lined with a highly reflective coating.
1930- Heinrich Lamm became the first person to assemble a bundle of optical fibers to carry an image.
1961- Elias Snitzer published a theoretical description of single mode fibers. This is a fiber with a core so small that it could carry light with one wave-guide mode. A picture of a single-mode fiber is shown below.
1970- Glass researchers Robert Maurer, Donald Keck, and Peter Schultz invented fiber optic wire capable of carrying 65,000 time more information than copper wire.
1975- The United States Government decided to link computer in the NORAD headquarters at Cheyenne Mountain using fiber optics to reduce interference.
1977- The first optical telephone communication system was installed in downtown Chicago.
2001- Today more than 80 percent of the world's long-distance traffic is carried over optical fiber cables. There has been 25 million kilometers of the cable Maurer, Keck and Schultz designed installed worldwide. The future of fiber optics is discussed on the Future portion of this website.