Multicore glass optical fiber to aid auto safety

High data rates and immunity from electromagnetic interference are bringing fiberoptic communications into the automobile, via the so-called MOST (Media Oriented Systems Transport) bus; the result will be intravehicle communications networks to handle everything from on-board computing to DVD signals.

High data rates and immunity from electromagnetic interference are bringing fiberoptic communications into the automobile, via the so-called MOST (Media Oriented Systems Transport) bus; the result will be intravehicle communications networks to handle everything from on-board computing to DVD signals (see www.laserfocusworld.com/articles/250384). Polymer optical fibers paired with light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are usually chosen, but these fibers are limited to temperatures below 85°C, bending radii above 25 mm, and medium data rates.

Multicore glass optical ­fibers developed by Schott (Mainz, Germany) are designed to push past these restrictions, allowing the use of fiber for active safety applications in the ­engine compartment, such as tying together cameras or radar systems that are installed in the ­bumper for precrash analysis of ­traffic. The fibers have hot-fused end surfaces, single-fiber diameters of 53 µm, and withstand 125°C, bend to a 5-mm radius, and transmit at 1 Gbit/s, allowing real-time transmission without data compression. The multicore fibers are paired with near-IR vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers, which can be modulated at much higher rates than LEDs, but whose wavelengths are not transmitted well by polymer fibers. Contact Kate Pepler at katie.pepler@us.schott.com.

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