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Reflection and Refraction

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Refraction and Reflection
People often wonder why it is that when looking at fish in an aquarium, the fish seems to suddenly change to a different position as we look at them from different viewpoints. What makes Diamonds seem to sparkle so much, or even when a straw is inserted into a glass it looks tilted or at an angle. All of these questions has the same answer and are all examples of Refraction, Refraction is the change in direction of light as it changes speeds passing from one material into another, it slows down when light enters a denser material, and is also the key component in fiber-optic transmissions. Although reflection and refraction are often construed as one in the same they are however different. Reflection tends to occur when light bounces off of an object. But the amount of reflection often depends on how even the surface is. Meaning if a surface is smooth or even flat (specular) it will bounce off at equal angles; like when you look in the mirror at the reflection of yourself, or in a clam body of water. Or perhaps if the surface is rough (diffuse) the light will however scatter into different directions, like off of clothing or paper. Or for instance this is why the “setting sun” my have a reddish tint and why the sky is blue.

Degradation could be defined as the ratio of optical output power to the input power in the fiber of length. Some factors that can cause degradation of signal strength in fiber-optic transmission are absorption (intrinsic, extrinsic), scattering (linear, and non-linear), dispersion (intermodal, intramodal) or bending (macroscopic, microscopic).

References * WCLS Oliviero/Cabling, 4e Chapter 20-21

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