Category Archives: Fiber Optics

The Biggest Ball Lens I have Ever Seen


We use tiny ball lenses all the time to mate our fibers up to photodetectors (Source). I was impressed when I saw a news article discussing an enormous, water-filled, ball lens being used to concentrate sunlight onto a solar array. … Continue reading

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More Bugs in My Optics


I had another optical failure related to bug intrusion. I do not yet understand how the bugs do it, but somehow they increase my optical loss enormously. This particular optical node was not properly sealed and box elder bugs got … Continue reading

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Fiber Optic Deployment Woes


We recently had a customer who reported that one of our products was reporting low RF video output power. This normally is caused by an issue with equipment setup, but everything this customer did was fine. It turned out that … Continue reading

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Laser Slope Efficiency and Curve Fitting


Introduction I have spent much of my summer dealing with issues related to the high temperature characteristics of lasers. These issues have stirred within me an interest in laser slope efficiency .  Slope efficiency, also known as SE,  is simply … Continue reading

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Laser Tracking Error and Curve Fitting


Introduction I had a request for an example of how the output power of a laser varies with temperature. We call this parameter tracking error. Tracking error varies from part to part and the manufacturers simply put a bound on … Continue reading

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A Little Specification Reading Before Bed


Introduction Nothing like reading ITU optical specifications to help you get to sleep after an active day. Since I have been doing some work on dispersion, let’s pull up ITU G.695 – Characteristics of Optical Systems. I want to see … Continue reading

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Optical Fiber Dispersion Formula – Where Did This Come From?


Introduction Most Fiber-To-The-Home (FTTH) deployments in North America use SMF-28e fiber from Corning, which is to fiber what Kleenex is to tissue. Unfortunately, I am so familiar with this particularly product that I can recite its specifications from memory. However, … Continue reading

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Some Laser Basics


Introduction I am doing some interesting work with lasers this week. I thought it would be useful to provide some background on how we build and control lasers. We deploy a lot of lasers in outdoor applications, which means that … Continue reading

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The Power of a Simple Magnifying Glass


Introduction My favorite radio program is Science Friday. Last week, their web page included an excellent video where Science Friday’s resourceful intern, Flora Lichtman, gave a wonderful explanation behind the use of a lens to concentrate the Sun’s power. Her … Continue reading

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Test Time and Estimating Bit Error Rate


Introduction Test time is expensive. Since our products need to conform to industry standards for Bit Error Rate (BER), we need to test for BER. It is important that we test long enough to ensure that we meet the requirements, … Continue reading

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