Passive fibers are optical fibers without laser-active dopants in the fiber core. That usually implies that they can only passively transmit light, with some propagation losses are without amplification of the optical power. In some cases, however, nonlinear amplification mechanisms based on stimulated Raman scattering or the Kerr nonlinearity occur.
Passive fibers can be separated into many specific categories:
- by fiber materials: glass fibers, single-crystal fibers, polycrystalline fibers (→ mid-infrared fibers), silica fibers, fluoride fibers, plastic optical fibers
- by fiber designs and physical principles of light guiding: step-index fibers, graded-index fibers, photonic crystal fibers, photonic bandgap fibers, hollow-core fibers, large-core fibers, tapered fibers, nanofibers
- by their guiding properties: single-mode fibers, polarization-maintaining fibers, single-polarization fibers, few-mode fibers, multimode fibers, large mode area fibers, dispersion-shifted fibers, dispersion-decreasing fibers
- by the spectral region: near-infrared fibers, mid-infrared fibers, ultraviolet fibers
- by their application areas: delivery fibers, telecom fibers, imaging fibers (e.g. as fiber bundles), sensor fibers (→ fiber-optic sensors)
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