Physics of Fibre Optics

In week 10 ‘The Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing (IPAS)’ at the University of Adelaide welcomed 90 University Senior College (USC) Year 11 Physics Students to visit their centre in Braggs Building and discuss the applications of their Holey Fibres in technology.

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USC Students in front of The Braggs


USC are working on their Science as a Human Endeavor (SHE) task, which is a SACE assessment item, on Optical Fibres. The excursion greatly helped them to understand how a simple Physics phenomenon, called the Total Internal Reflection, in conjunction with Optical Fibres, have so many applications in medicine, sensing and in communications. These Fibres are as thin as a single hair with a specific pattern extended through their whole length. No wonder why they are called Holey Fibres!


IPAS brings together over 180 researchers across the boundaries of physics, chemistry, materials science and biology. They collaborate with other academic groups, both nationally and internationally, and with industry. A/Prof. Afshar, took our students on a tour of the centre to show them how to make soft glasses from raw materials; fabricate ‘macro structured’ preforms through extrusion technique; and draw the preforms into micro-structured Fibres.


At the end of the tour USC students were given a chance to discuss the applications of these Fibres in technology, including biological sensing and telecommunications; ideas that our students will use in their summative task. They also found out more about the undergraduate program in Optics and Photonics offered by Adelaide University.


Year 11 Physics participated in this event so actively and enthusiastically.


Zahra Pirvali
Physics Teacher

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