It's time to reinvent the textbook to meet the needs of today's students, educators, and self-study readers. Students aren't buying them, and authors and publishers have slowed or stopped revising them keep up with new technology and new pedagogy. We want to demonstrate new possibilities by completely overhauling Understanding Fiber Optics, an introduction to fiber optics originally written by J.H. for self-study and later republished as a textbook for technician training. After five editions that sold over 100,000 copies, its page count nearly doubled and its price soared more than tenfold from its original $16.95. We envision a modular structure to meet the needs of students and instructors. Basic concepts will be covered at an introductory level in a "core book" of some 200-250 pages, suitable for self-study, STEM programs at the high school level, and technician training. Additional separate modules primarily intended for instructors will cover details, such as how to install connectors. All materials will be distributed electronically at low cost, and will include interactive demonstrations, animations, simulations, and audio and video supplements explaining key concepts. Our goal is to keep the best aspects of a well-written and well-illustrated textbook, take advantage of new tools for presenting material to students, and make the whole package readily accessible and affordable to students, instructors, and anyone else wanting a working knowledge of fiber optics. We are developing a proposal to achieve these goals, and looking for partners to help us develop, test and evaluate instructional materials.
Half a century has passed since Theodore Maiman's small ruby rod crossed the threshold of laser emission. The breakthrough demonstration earned headlines, but in the early years the laser was called "a solution looking for a problem," and there was a germ of truth in the joke. Years of development since then have vastly improved laser performance, and tremendously increased their variety, earning lasers important roles in scientific research, consumer products, telecommunications, engineering, medicine, materials working, and a host of other applications. This article reviews the highlights of those developments and puts them into context, showing how laser technology has evolved to meet application requirements.
SPIE Professional plans a series of articles about the laser as the 50th anniversary of the first working laser approaches. This historical account of its development is excerpted from Laser Pioneers by Jeff Hecht, published by Academic Press, 1991.
In September 1959, Theodore Maiman attended the first International Quantum Electronics Conference to
present a paper describing an exceptionally compact microwave-emitting ruby maser he had developed at the
Hughes Research Laboratories. On May 16, 1960 he succeeded in demonstrating the first working laser, also
using ruby, a historic breakthrough that stunned others trying to develop a working laser. Maiman's success,
described in my book Beam: The Race to Make the Laser (Oxford, 2005) teaches some important lessons in
taking on challenging optical tasks.
Laser technology is a key parameter in optical SETI research. Any detection scheme inevitably depends on assumptions about laser technology available to advanced extraterrestrial civilizations. Without any direct evidence, the best we can do is to extrapolate from present laser technology. To establish a baseline, I will look at past trends, then extrapolate the potentials of important laser technologies.
This course introduces important components used in fiber-optic systems: fibers, light sources, detectors, optical amplifiers, repeaters, regenerators, connectors, splices, couplers, switches, modulators, planar waveguide devices, fiber Bragg gratings, and filters. It covers their principles and functions.
SC226: Understanding Fiber Optic Components and Systems (A 2-Part Series)
This course describes how fiber-optic systems work and how they are used. It covers system concepts, standards, long-haul telecommunications, submarine cables, regional telecommunications, local telephone systems, cable television networks, data communication, and optical networks. The course intends to provide an intuitive understanding of fiber optic systems and how to get started working with them.