Plastic optical fiber (POF) is introduced to optical links later than glass optical fiber. It is an optical fiber in which the core and cladding are both made out of plastic or polymeric materials rather than glass. It is typically made up of PMMA (acrylic), a general-purpose resin as the core material, thus it is also referred to as PMMA optical fiber. Similar to the glass optical fiber, POF transmits the light through the core of the fiber. POFs are usually multimode fibers with large core (diameter from 0.15-2 mm). Made from just one acrylic monofilament, plastic fiber optic cables are efficient when used with visible red status indicator light sources.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Plastic Optical Fiber
- The materials which POF is made up of are low-cost and the installation with associated assemblies is not expensive.
- It is flexible and solid, able to bend farther without breakage.
- The network using plastic optical fiber can be installed by untrained personnel. Even home users can handle and install these fibers.
- Plastic optical fibers use harmless green or red light that is easily visible towards the eye. They are safe when installed in a house without risk to inquisitive children.
- The signal attenuation and dispersion of POF are typically very high, hence it is limited to short distances.
- POF can not withstand the extreme temperature as glass optical fiber does.