Ever wondered how fibre optic lighting actually works? How it is that these tiny lines – sometimes as thin as a strand of human hair – can transmit light with incredible brilliance and safety?
If you haven’t, it’s about time you did!
What’s particularly interesting about fibre optic lighting is the way in which its genius lies in its simplicity. Each fibre optic line is made from an extraordinarily thin strand of glass which is optically pure. Produced by way of an extremely meticulous manufacturing process, these ‘fibres’ of glass then transmit light from a point of origin to a final point of release.
A process that can be more easily understood when thought of as follows:
Say you were standing at one end of a tunnel and wanted to shine a beam of light all the way through to the other end. If the tunnel was perfectly straight, all you would need would be the initial lighting source. Which would of course be visible from the other side/exit of the tunnel. However, if the tunnel bent in any direction at any time, the light would not reach the other end. Particularly if there were several turns within the tunnel, it’s likely that none of the light whatsoever would be visible from the other side.
In order to make the light visible from the other side, you would have to add mirrors to the interior of the tunnel to reflect the light accordingly. The number of curves within the tunnel would determine exactly how many mirrors you would need, along with where and how they should be positioned. Get it right and the lighting source should be clearly visible and perfectly bright at the other end of the tunnel.
With fibre optic technology, it is exactly the same principle. Each of the tiny strands of glass effectively has a comprehensively mirrored interior, in order to reflect the light that travels through the fibre all the way to the end. It is a process known as total internal reflection, which ensures that the initial source of light is transported all the way to the end of the strand, without losing any of its brightness or brilliance along the way.
More often than not, today’s fibre optic lighting products rely on LED lights as their source, which is reliant on a suitable power supply. Nevertheless, as the fibres themselves do not at any point come into direct contact with anything electrical or carry any electrical current, they can be used in almost any environment where alternative lighting may be unsuitable. They also transmit little to no heat whatsoever.
With its unique versatility, fibre optic lighting can be used for decorative and various practical purposes in homes, businesses and public places alike. What’s more, the on-going advancement in fibre optic lighting technology in general is making even the highest quality products more accessible and affordable than ever before.
This article was brought to you courtesy of the team at Fibre Optic FX.