What is the Plastic Optical Fibers

Plastic optical fiber (POF cable) is an optical fiber made out of plastic rather than traditional glass. Traditionally PMMA (acrylic) is the core material, and fluorinated polymers are the cladding material. With its advantages including high transmission capacity, excellent noise resistance, light weight, and outstanding flexibility, plastic optical fiber is expected to play an important role in the high information oriented society.

Plastic fiber optic cables (POF cable) are constructed of a single acrylic monofilament and are most efficient when used with visible red status indicator light sources. Plastic fibers are generally more cost effective than glass fiber optic cables and are ideal for applications that require continuous flexing of the fiber. A wide range of fiber optic tips are available.

POF has been called the “consumer” optical fiber because the fiber and associated optical links, connectors, and installation are all inexpensive. Due to the attenuation and distortion characteristics of the traditional PMMA fibers are commonly used for low-speed, short-distance (up to 100 meters) applications in digital home appliances, home networks, industrial networks (PROFIBUS, PROFINET), and car network. The perfluorinated polymer fibers are commonly used for much higher-speed applications such as data center wiring and building LAN wiring.

In relation to the future request of high-speed home networking, there has been an increasing interest in POF as a possible option for next-generation Gigabit/s links inside the house. To this end, several Europen Research projects are active, such as POF-ALL and POF-PLUS. Several standardization bodies at country, European and WW levels are currently developing Gigabit communication standards for POF aimed towards Home networking applications. It is expected the release at the beginning of 2012. The future Gigabit POF standard is based on multilevel PAM modulation a frame structure, Tomlinson-Harashima Precoding and Multilevel coset coding modulation.

The combination of all these techniques has proven to be the most efficient way of achieving low cost implementations at the same time that the transmission theoretical maximum capacity of the POF is approached. Other alternatives like DMT, PAM-2 NRZ, DFE equalization or PAM-4 have inferior performance and lead to more expensive implementations.

For telecommunications, the more difficult-to-use glass optical fiber is more common. This fiber has a core made of germania-doped silica. Although the actual cost of glass fibers are similar to the plastic fiber optic, their installed cost is much higher due to the special handling and installation techniques required. With very large diameter, POF cable is easy to run along skirting boards, under carpets and around tight corners. It offers additional durability for uses in data communications, as well as decoration, illumination and industrial application.

  • Ideal for continuous flexing applications
  • Individual (transmitted beam) and bifurcated (reflective) fiber styles
  • Wide range of specialty fiber optic cable tips available
  • Teflon coated fiber optic cables for liquid level applications in caustic environments
  • Standard cable length of 2 m (78 in.)
  • 30 m (98.5 ft) unterminated fiber cable spools available
  • Maximum temperature rating of 15… 70 °C (-30…158 °F)
POF in short

1. PMMA and Polystyrene are used as fiber core, with refractive indices of 1.49 and 1.59 respectively.

2. Generally, fiber cladding is made of silicone resin (refractive index ~1.46).

3. High refractive index difference is maintained between core and cladding.

4. High numerical aperture.

5. Have high mechanical flexibility and low cost.

6. Attenuation loss is about 1 dB/m @ 650 nm.

7. Core/Cladding size 1 mm.

8. Bandwidth is ~5 MHz-km @ 650 nm.

FS.COM provides both simplex and duplex plastic optical fibers, we also supply fiber patch cords, fiber optic pigtails, loose tube cable and more.