Fiber optics are considered the modern method for communications and have made inroads into holiday decorations, but most people have little understanding of what exactly is involved. Simply put it is light in glass, but that is much too simplistic of an approach. It leaves too many unanswered questions, including how the light stays in the glass even as it goes around bends? And, why is it the glass seems to be illuminated from within? These questions are not that hard to answer. In decorations these are the important questions, but in communications there are more restrictions. For this article we will stick with decorations for Halloween.
Halloween Decorations Using Fiber Optics
Halloween decorations are often eerie, and when you mix a Halloween image with the naturally eerie appearance of fiber optics you have quite a winning combination.
Why Does Light Bend in Fiber Optics?
When light goes from one medium to another it does two things, some of the light reflects and some refracts, or changes angle. If it is going from something like glass to air, where the index of refraction, or the number that determines how far it refracts, is lower on the other side of the surface, the light refracts at a wider angle then it strikes the surface. When that wider angle is so wide, as happens when light strikes a surface close to parallel to the surface, that the refracted ray is not in the new medium all of the light is reflected back into the glass. So, light traveling along a thin piece of glass is always fully refracted back into the glass, even if the glass is bent. In communications, the light is from a laser, but in decorations any light source will do.
Why Does the Fiber Appear to Be Illuminated from Within?
Light does scatter when it interacts with the molecules making up the glass, so some light scatters at an angle that allows it to escape the glass. This is a small amount, but does allow the fiber to appear illuminated from within. Most of the light will stay in the fiber and reach the end of that fiber, lighting the decoration in an unusual way.
Fiber Optic Decorations Can Be Eerie
An unusual appearance of the decoration can be beautiful, or can be eerie. Halloween requires the eerie appearance, and that is just what happens. Of course a well selected subject can also help.
Fiber Optic Decorations Found at Sears
Here are a few Halloween decorations that can help with decorating for a Halloween party.
These items are available at Sears.
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The introduction imageis in public domain.