Cladding fibre optic cables
Themes: High Tech
A great obstacle for optical-fibre communication was signal interference and attenuation. Professor Van Heel came up with the idea of cladding to eliminate this obstacle. Currently, fibre optic cables carry more than 80% of the world's long-distance telecommunication.
Cladding involves coating the cable’s core with a transparent lower refractive index material. The interface between these two materials acts as a mirror, keeping the signal in and distortions out. Because this reduces attenuation, high volume long distance signal transport is now possible.
Professor Van Heel's first publication on cladding was published in Nature in 1954. First commercial applications of this innovation in communication systems originate from 1977.
Prof. Bram van Heel ✝