Information in the optical fiber is transmitted in the form of coded light pulses. The single fiber that allows us to transmit this light across the ocean already has a capacity in petabits per second. These are unimaginable sizes for an ordinary person.
The more and more popular in Poland optical fiber in the classic application allows you to transfer data at great speed and provides super-fast access to the Internet. However, scientists from the Military University of Technology are looking for other, non-telecommunications applications of optical fibers. The result of their work is one of the two existing fiber-optic rotary seismographs in the world, which allows to study seismic phenomena accompanying earthquakes, record the rotational movements of tall buildings and predict rock collapses in mines. With the government administration in mind, researchers are also developing binary coding methods that will make it possible to protect optical fibers against external eavesdropping.
“For example, the EU wanted each of its citizens to have access to 1 gigabyte broadband per second by 2020. The capacity of the light transmitting fiber overseas is already a million times greater” – explains Dr. Eng. Paweł Marć, head of the Department of Technical Applications of Physics at the Faculty of New Technologies and Chemistry of the Military University of Technology.
Scientists from the Military University of Technology are also working on non-telecommunications applications of optical fibers. They use optical fibers – or more broadly, optical photonics – mainly as sensors for measuring external physical (temperature, stress, humidity, etc.), chemical and even biological fields. However, each such solution requires “sensitization” of the optical fiber to given factors. For this purpose, scientists modify the structure of the fibers and the structure of their coating (e.g. through appropriate metallic, polymer and graphene layers). This, combined with advanced detection techniques, enables the detection of selected factors with very high precision.