Optical fiber is a material made of glass or plastic (polymers). With the development of quartz technology, it was possible to obtain increasingly thin, transparent wires that can be bent without breaking. A feature of great importance for the construction of this material is the almost absolute transparency of quartz with a high degree of purity. Light, as we know, is an electromagnetic wave, and as such it can propagate along any path. When penetrating a fiber optic filament, light undergoes total reflection and it is through these reflections that it travels through the entire fiber until it reaches its final destination.
In the area of space research, optical fiber is used in a telescope device specially designed to make simultaneous observations of the stars.
In telecommunications, optical fiber is used to transmit signals through electromagnetic pulses, that is, light, infrared radiation or any other type of electromagnetic radiation. Because it is more efficient and economical than copper cables, it has been widely used in the telecommunications field. Optical fiber has another advantage over the use of copper cables, in the copper wires, amplifiers and signal repeaters must be installed every 4 km. In fiber optics, these same receivers and amplifiers are installed at distances greater than 10 km. Despite all these advantages, optical fiber has two disadvantages in relation to the use of copper. In fiber the speed of emission of signals is approximately 200 000 km/s, in contrast to the signals of the electric current, traveling with a speed of 300,000 km/s. Another disadvantage is that optical fiber is less resistant than copper wire.
In everyday life, optical fiber is little used, however it can be found in the manufacture of some decoration items and in certain types of toys.