POF vs GOF | Difference between POF(Plastic Optical Fiber) and GOF(Glass Optical Fiber)

This page compares POF (Plastic Optical Fiber) vs GOF (Glass Optical Fiber) and mentions difference between Plastic Optical Fiber (POF) and Glass Optical Fiber (GOF). It mentions advantages and disadvantages of both POF and GOF.

• The fiber optic communication system consists of three major components viz. optical source (viz. LED, laser), photodetector or light receiver and guiding medium of optical fiber.
• Optical fiber is long hair like dielectric (made of silica or plastic) structure with nearly circular cross section.
• The central active region (known as core) allows propagation of optical signal through multiple total internal reflection process.
• The cladding region helps to confine optical signal in the core region by reflection of light at core-cladding interface.
• The extreme outer protective jacket prevents core and cladding from damage.
• Optical fibers are mainly categorized into plastic fiber and glass fiber.

fiber optical cable

POF | Plastic Optical Fiber

• In this fiber, both core and cladding regions are made by plastic or polymeric materials.
• Polystyrene (PS) as core material and Polymethyl methacrylate (PAMA) as cladding material provide best results as plastic fiber.
• The figure-1 depicts basic structure of plastic optical fiber and figure-2 depicts operating wavelength.
• plastic fibers are preferred for short distance (< 100 meters) and low signal transmission (~ few Mbps) systems.
• It is used in various applications as strain sensors, acoustic sensors etc. It is primarily used in medical and automotive industries.
• Refer advantages and disadvantages of Plastic optical fiber >> for more information.

POF vs GOF,Difference between Plastic Optical Fiber and Glass Optical Fiber

GOF | Glass Optical Fiber

• They are made of strands of glass surrounded by specific sheathing (e.g. stainless steel).
• They are durable and withstand low to high temperatures in the range -40oF to +900oF.
• The figure-1 depicts basic structure of glass optical fiber and figure-2 depicts operating wavelength.
• The light wave can travel over greater distances as cladding does not absorb any light from the core. Some of the light degrades within fiber cable due to impurities in the glass.
• The basis of textile grade glass optical fiber is silica (i.e. SiO2).

POF vs GOF wavelength range

Difference between Plastic Optical Fiber and Glass Optical Fiber

Following table mentions difference between plastic optical fiber and glass optical fiber types including their respective advantages and disadvantages.

Features Plastic Optical Fiber (POF) Glass Optical Fiber (GOF)
Numerical Aperture (NA) High, 0.4 Low, 0.1 to 0.2
Material Plastic e.g. PMMA Glass
Core diameter 1 mm 0.062 mm
Attenuation 200 dB/Km (at 650 nm) 2.9 dB/Km (at 850 nm)
Link Length, at 100 Mbps 100 meters 2 Km
Bandwidth About 10 MHz *Km 200 MHz *Km
Operating Wavelength Visible band Infrared band
Flexibility Flexible Brittle
Loss Medium to high loss over short distance Low to medium loss over long distance
Connectorization Easy to connectorize, requires little training or special tools Takes longer, requires special tools and training
Costs Potentially low cost fiber and components More expensive fiber and components
Test equipment cost Low Expensive
Size Large diameter,20 times bigger than GOF Small size, makes it difficult to couple light and handle
Installation Easy Difficult

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