Optical Fiber Attenuation

Driving Question: How far can we send data over a fiber optic cable to connect two sections of the school?

Synopsis: The school wants to install a 50 meter plastic fiber optic cable for their datacom needs that will connect two sections of the school. The students are given the task to determine if this is possible given that there is large power losses over any distance in plastic fiber. Students will investigate the attenuation (intensity loss) as a function of the wavelength of light used and the length of fiber used. Students will determine if running 50 meters of plastic fiber without significant signal loss is possible as well as the wavelength that the transmission should be sent for maximum signal to gain.

Math Standards: Students will
  • Create equations and inequalities in one variable to represent a real-world context.
  • Create equations and linear inequalities in two variables to represent a real-world context.
  • Reason abstractly when they create abstract algebraic models of problems.
  • An effective way to help students develop the skill of describing general relationships is to work through several specific examples and then express what they are doing with algebraic symbolism.
  • Summarize categorical data for two categories in two-way frequency tables. Interpret relative frequencies in the context of the data (including joint, marginal, and conditional relative frequencies). Recognize possible associations and trends in the data.
  • Represent bivariate data on a scatter plot, and describe how the variables’ values are related.
  • Fit a function to real-world data; use functions fitted to data to solve problems in the context of data.
    Interpret the slope (rate of change) and the intercept (constant term) of a linear model in the context of the data.
  • Calculate (using technology) and interpret the correlation coefficient of a linear fit.
  • Distinguish between correlation and causation.
  • Interpret the parameters in a linear or exponential function in terms of a context?

OPT 110 Topics:

How Light Behaves – reflection (total internal reflection)
Light and Measurement – brightness
Light in Technology and Industry – photonics