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OPTICAL SPLICES, CONNECTORS, AND COUPLERS

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

Upon completion of this chapter, you should be able to do the following:

Describe a fiber optic splice, connector, and coupler and the types of connections they form in systems.

  • List the types of extrinsic and intrinsic coupling losses.
  • Understand the degree to which fiber alignment and fiber mismatch problems increase system loss.
  • Detail the score-and-break cleaving process for fiber-end preparation.
  • Identify the types of fiber optic mechanical and fusion splices. Outline the basic splicing techniques for each type of fiber optic splice.
  • List the types of fiber optic connectors. Detail the procedure for installing a fiber optic connector on an optical fiber.
  • Discuss the types of fiber optic passive couplers.

FIBER OPTIC CONNECTIONS

Chapter 1 states that a fiber optic data link performs three basic functions.

First, the data link transmitter converts an electrical input signal to an optical signal. Then, the optical fiber transmits this optical signal. Finally, the data link receiver converts the optical signal back to an electrical signal identical to the original input. However, chapter 1 does not describe how optical power transfers from one optical component to another.

This chapter describes how optical power is transferred from one fiber optic component to another. It describes how an optical source launches optical power into a fiber as well as how one optical fiber couples light into another fiber. In fiber optic system design, this launching or coupling of optical power from one component to the next is important.

Fiber optic connections permit the transfer of optical power from one component to another. Fiber optic connections also permit fiber optic systems to be more than just point-to-point data communication links. In fact, fiber optic data links are often of a more complex design than point-to-point data links.

A system connection may require either a fiber optic splice, connector, or coupler. One type of system connection is a permanent connection made by splicing optical fibers together. A fiber optic splice makes a permanent joint between two fibers or two groups of fibers. There are two types of fiber optic splices--mechanical splices and fusion splices. Even though removal of some mechanical splices is possible, they are intended to be permanent. Another type of connection that allows for system reconfiguration is a fiber optic connector. Fiber optic connectors permit easy coupling and uncoupling of optical fibers. Fiber optic connectors sometimes resemble familiar electrical plugs and sockets. Systems may also divide or combine optical signals between fibers. Fiber optic couplers distribute or combine optical signals between fibers. Couplers can distribute an optical signal from a single fiber into several fibers. Couplers may also combine optical signals from several fibers into one fiber.

Fiber optic connection losses may affect system performance. Poor fiber end preparation and poor fiber alignment are the main causes of coupling loss. Another source of coupling loss is differences in optical properties between the connected fibers. If the connected fibers have different optical properties, such as different numerical apertures, core and cladding diameters, and refractive index profiles, then coupling losses may increase.

Q.1 Which fiber optic component (splice, connector, or coupler) makes a permanent connection in a distributed system?
Q.2 What are the main causes of coupling loss?




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