Principles of Polymer Optical Fibers
In this chapter a summary of the principle of operation of optical fibers, namely step index, graded index, and microstructured, will be presented. The quality requirements needed for the development of an optical fiber will be also analyzed, with special focus on polymer materials. Therefore, optical, mechanical, thermal, and chemical properties will be introduced and if possible, a comparison between different polymer materials will be given. The most used POF-based materials are then presented and the techniques commonly employed for the fabrication of different POFs (i.e. SI-POF, GI-POF, and mPOF) are also described. At the end of this chapter, the most significant factors influencing attenuation will be analyzed. The analysis will be made for the visible and near infrared regions, and a comparison between the different polymer materials will be performed.