Fiber Optic Glossary

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  • Packet
    A technique used to break large quantities of data into small groups, or packets, to facilitate transmission with very few...
  • Packet Format
    The exact order and size of the various control and information fields of a packet, including header, address, and data...
  • Packet Switch
    A switch that moves data packets from multiple transmissions and provide for efficient sharing of communication facilities.
  • Packing fraction
    The fraction of the area of an optical fiber bundle surface that is actual core area.
  • Panda Fiber
    Panda is a common style of PM fiber, using round and symetrical stress rods on either side of the core...
  • Parabolic Profile
    In an optical fiber, a power-law index profile with the profile parameter, g, equal to. Synonym: quadratic profile.
  • Parabolic Pulses
    Pulses with a parabolic intensity profile.
  • Parametric Amplification
    A process of optical amplification based on a parametric nonlinearity and a pump wave.
  • Parametric Fluorescence
    Light emitted by a parametric amplifier without signal or input inputs.
  • Parametric Nonlinearities
    Instantaneous optical nonlinearities based on the χ(2) or χ(3) nonlinear tensor of a transparent medium.
  • Parasitic Lasing
    Unwanted laser operation in a laser or amplifier device.
  • Paraxial Approximation
    A frequently used approximation, essentially assuming small angular deviations of the propagation directions from some beam axis.
  • Paraxial Rays
    Rays which are nearly parallel with the optical axis.
  • Parity Bit
    An additional bit added to a group of bits, typically to a 7-bit character. That additional parity bit means that...
  • Partitioning
    Splitting up the data in some way. Ideally, the partitioning is dictated by the nature of the data and typical...
  • Passband
    The region of usable frequency in electronics or wavelength in optics.
  • Passive Branching Device
    A device which divides an optical input into two or more optical inputs.
  • Passive Mode Locking
    A technique of mode locking based on a saturable absorber inside the laser resonator.
  • Passive Optical Component
    A device that responds to incident light but does not generate light.
  • Passive Star Coupler
    Couples one or more input optical signals coming from fiber optic cables to one or more output fiber optic cables...
  • Patch Cord
    A patch cord is a fiber optic cable used to attach one device to another for signal routing.
  • Patch Panel
    Distribution area to rearrange fiber optic cable connections and circuits. A simple patch panel is a metal frame. One side...
  • Pathological Test Code
    A special test pattern used with DTV and HDTV signals to create the longest strings of zeros and ones over...
  • PBX
    An abbreviation for private branch exchange.
  • PC Physical Contact
    PC (Physical Contact) is the point at which the surface of one glass surface meets another in order for light...
  • PCM
    Pulse-Coded Modulation.
  • PCS
    Plastic-Clad Silica.
  • PDCR
    An abbreviation for polarization-dependent coupling ratio.
  • PE
    Abbreviation used to denote polyethylene.A type of plastic material used to make cable jacketing.
  • Peak Power
    Maximum optical power of a pulse.
  • Peak Wavelength
    The wavelength at which the optical power of a source is at maximum.
  • Periodic Poling
    A technique for achieving quasi-phase matching of nonlinear interactions in a transparent crystal material. It involves a process which generates...
  • Peripheral Device
    A piece of computer hardware such as a disk drive, printer, or modem used in conjunction with a computer and...
  • Phase Constant
    The imaginary part of the axial propagation constant for a particular mode, usually expressed in radians per unit length.
  • Phase Matching
    A group of techniques for achieving efficient nonlinear interactions in a medium.
  • Phase Matching Bandwidth
    Width of an optical frequency range in which some process can be efficient due to more or less precise phase...
  • Phase Modulators
    Devices for manipulating the phase of a laser beam.
  • Phase Noise
    Noise of the optical phase of a beam or of an electric signal.
  • Phase Shift Method for Distance Measurements
    A technique for measuring distances that uses a laser beam with sinusoidally modulated optical power being sent to a...
  • Phase Term
    In the propagation of an electromagnetic wave in a uniform waveguide, such as an optical fiber or metal waveguide, the...
  • Phase Velocity
    The velocity with which phase fronts propagate in a medium.
  • Phonons
    Quantized microscopic vibrations in solid media.
  • Phosphorescence
    A luminescence which lasts for some time after excitation of a medium.
  • Photoconductive Sampling
    A technique of optical sampling relying on photoconductive switches.
  • Photoconductive Switches
    Electric switches controlled by light via photo-induced conductivity.
  • Photoconductivity
    The conductivity increase exhibited by some nonmetallic materials resulting from the free carriers generated when photon energy is absorbed in...
  • Photocurrent
    The current that flows through a photosensitive device as the result of exposure to radiant power.
  • Photodarkening
    The phenomenon that the optical power losses in a medium can grow when the medium is irradiated with light at...
  • Photodetectors
    Devices used for the detection of light.
  • Photodiode
    A semiconductor that converts light to an electrical signal, used in fiber optic receivers.
  • Photodiodes
    Semiconductor devices with a p-n or p–i–n structure for the detection of light.
  • Photoluminescence
    Emission of light which is caused by the irradiation of a material with other light. The term embraces both fluorescence...
  • Photomultipliers
    Photodetection devices based on the photoelectric effect and charge multiplication by secondary emission.
  • Photon Counting
    Photodetection at low light levels where single photon absorption events are counted.
  • Photonic Bandgap Fibers
    A special type of photonic crystal fibers, relying on photonic bandgaps.
  • Photonic Crystal Fibers
    Optical fibers with a built-in microstructure, in most cases consisting of small air holes in glass.
  • Photonic Integrated Circuits
    Integrated circuits with optical functions.
  • Photonics
    The technology of generating and harnessing light and other forms of radiant energy whose quantum unit is the photon. The...
  • Photons
    Quanta of light energy.
  • Photovoltaic Effect
    Production of a voltage difference across a p-n junction resulting from the absorption of photon energy. The voltage difference is...
  • PHY
    Physical Layer Device. The name used for a transceiver in Fast Ethernet and Gigabit Ethernet systems.
  • Physical Address
    The 48-bit MAC address assigned to a station interface, identifying that station on the network.
  • Physical Contact (PC)
    Connectors aligned and mated so that no air gaps exist between them. Positive contact between fibers exist. Also see Connector...
  • Physical Layer
    Layer one of the OSI reference model, it encodes, modulates and transmits data across physical links on the network. It also...
  • Picosecond Lasers
    Lasers emitting pulses with picosecond durations.
  • Pigtail
    A short length of fiber attached to a fiber optic component such as a laser or coupler.
  • PIN
    Abbreviation for positive intrinsic negative photodiode.
  • Pin contact
    A “male” contact with the engagement end that enters into the socket contact.
  • PIN Photodiode
    A diode with a large intrinsic region sandwiched between p-doped and n-doped semiconducting regions. Photons in this region create electron...
  • Pistoning
    The movement of a fiber optic cable axially in and out of a ferrule end, often caused by changes in...
  • Planar Waveguides
    Waveguide structures guiding light only in one dimension.
  • Plastic Clad Silica PCS Fiber
    A fiber made with a glass core and plastic cladding.
  • Plastic Fiber
    An optical fiber having a plastic core and plastic cladding.
  • Plastic Jackets
    The direct cladding used for fused silica cores to create large numerical aperture fibers and used as overcoats to glass-clad...
  • Plastic Optical Fiber POF
    An optical fiber made of plastic. In large-diameter fibers, 96% of the cross section is the core that allows the...
  • Plastic-Clad Silica Fiber
    An optical fiber having a glass core and plastic cladding.
  • Plating
    The overlaying of a thin coating of metal on connector shells and contacts to prevent corrosion, improve conductivity or provide...
  • Plenum
    Plenum is the air-handling space such as that found above drop-ceiling tiles or in raised floors. Also, plenum is a...
  • Plenum Cable
    Cable approved by Underwriters Laboratories for installation in plenums without the need for conduit because the insulation and jacket compounds...
  • Plesiochronous Digital Hierarchy
    The North American Digital Hierarchy of time-division multiplexing rates.
  • PMD
    An abbreviation for polarization mode dispersion.
  • PMD Polarization Mode Dispersion
    PMD is an effect where an electric field's direction, or polarization, splits into two components that propagate at different speeds,...
  • PMDC
    An abbreviation for polarization mode dispersion compensator.
  • PNDC
    Pacific Northwest Defense Coalition
  • Pockels Cells
    Electro-optic devices used for building modulators.
  • Pockels Effect
    The phenomenon that the refractive index of a medium exhibits a modification which is proportional to the strength of an...
  • POF
    An abbreviation for plastic optical fiber.
  • Point to Point Transmission
    Carrying a communication signal between two locations without branching to other locations.
  • Point-to-Point
    A connection established between two specific locations, as between two buildings.
  • Polarization
    With respect to light radiation, the restriction of the vibrations of the magnetic or electric field vector to a single...
  • Polarization Dependent Loss
    In passive optical components, loss that varies as the polarization state of the propagating wave changes. Expressed as the difference...
  • Polarization Maintaining Optical Fiber
    An optical fiber in which the polarization planes of lightwaves launched into the fiber are maintained during propagation with little...
  • Polarization Mode Dispersion
    Pulse spreading in a single mode fiber which happens because of the different group velocities for each of the two...
  • Polarization of Laser Emission
    Direction of the electric field oscillation of a laser beam.
  • Polarization Preserving Fiber PPF
    Single-mode fiber that preserves the plane of polarization of the light launched into it as the beam propagates through its...
  • Polarization Stability
    The variation in insertion loss as the polarization state of the input light is varied.
  • Polarization Waves
    Patterns of electric or magnetic polarization of a medium which are usually caused by light waves.
  • Polishing
    The optical process, following grinding, that puts a highly finished, smooth and apparently amorphous surface on a lens or a...
  • Polishing and Abrasive Material
    Any of the numerous powders used for grinding and polishing glass, crystal or metal, the chief material being emery and...
  • Polishing Jig
    In fiber optics, a device used to polish a biconic plug to a specified length and surface finish. Also called...

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