Light Diffusion

Light diffusion in Fiber Optics

When light is reflected from a mirror, the angle of reflection equals the angle of incidence. When light is reflected from a piece of plain white paper; however, the reflected beam is scattered, or diffused.

The illustation below shows this diffusion process. Because the surface of the paper is not smooth, the reflected light is broken up into many light beams that are reflected in all directions.




You have just seen that a light beam is reflected and diffused when it falls onto a piece of white paper. If the light beam falls onto a piece of black paper, the black paper absorbs most of the light rays and very little light is reflected from the paper.

If the surface upon which the light beam falls is perfectly black, there is no reflection; that is, the light is totally absorbed. No matter what kind of surface light falls upon, some of the light is absorbed.

Below is an example of the levels of absorption of light in a water medium.


Example of light absorption.


The transmission of light along optical fibers depends not only on the nature of light, but also on the structure of the optical fiber. Two methods are used to describe how light is transmitted along the optical fiber. The first method, ray theory, uses the concepts of light reflection and refraction.

The second method, mode theory, treats light as electromagnetic waves. You must first understand the basic optical properties of the materials used to make optical fibers. These properties affect how light is transmitted through the fiber.

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