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What is Absorption in an Optical Fiber?

The process of absorption of materials in physics is very clear; a substance captures and transforms energy. The absorbent distributes the material it captures throughout whole and adsorbent only distributes it through the surface. In fiber optics, the light absorption is a bit confused and difficult to explain. What is absorption in fiber optics and how it happens in an optical fiber?

When the light signals travles along an optical fiber, the impurities that are present in the glass absorbs a small portion of the light energy, causing it to become weaker. Commonly present impurity is hydroxyl ions that are trapped during the preform manufacturing stage. Hydroxyl ions absorbs the light energy particularly that belongs to the 1383nm wavelength region. Optical signal that travels after this absorption by the impurity becomes weaker, that is attenuated. So, if you see the attenuation spectrum versus the wavelength, for normal single mode fibers, you can see a peak at the 1383nm.

Absorption and Attenuation in an Optical Fiber