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Polymer Optical Fiber

Polymer optical fiber (POF) is a kind of optical fiber with high transparent polymer as the core and low refractive index polymer as the cladding. As a fiber solution provider, Alfa Chemistry provides polymer optical fibers to meet the needs of optical fiber materials.


There are two main materials for making POF: one is polymethyl methacrylate polymer (PMMA), with a refractive index of 1.492; the other is fluorinated polymer (PF), with a refractive index of about 1.42. The diagram below outlines the various types of POFs that are commonly available.

Overview of the different types of POF.Overview of the different types of POF. (SI, step index; GI, graded index) [1]

PMMA-SI-POF is the most widely deployed POF type. In particular, we can highlight the following main advantages of this type of POF over other fibers: high mechanical elasticity, high mechanical tolerances, low bending losses, easy processing, use of visible sources, ease of installation, water resistance.


  • Lightweight
  • Strong flexibility
  • High coupling efficiency between light source and light source
  • High light transmission capacity
  • More resistant to damage (vibration and bending), slight bending does not affect light guiding ability
  • Easy alignment and bonding
  • Easy to use and low cost
  • Does not produce radiation
  • Insensitive to electromagnetic interference
  • Not affected by noise disturbance
  • Insensitive to vibration, more suitable for bending and twisting occasions
  • High optical loss, only suitable for short-range applications

Application And Research

  • Data Network
    Due to the large diameter and numerical aperture, POFs have stronger bandwidth capabilities than copper-based transmission media. Optical data transmission with POFs will find increasing use in consumer markets (e.g. home networking), the automotive and aircraft industries.
  • Sensor Application
    Combined with the characteristics of POF, including high elastic strain limit, high fracture toughness, high bending flexibility, high strain sensitivity, and potential negative thermo-optic coefficient, POFs has significant advantages in many sensing applications. For example, researchers have developed POF-based temperature sensors. In this work, the sensor works on the principle that the mechanical properties of POF change with temperature. [2]
  • Healthcare Application
    On the basis of POF sensors, POFs can be further practically applied in healthcare. Specific examples include wearable robotic instruments, medical instrumentation, human motion assessment, plantar pressure assessment systems, and physiological parameter assessments, etc.

Application of POF sensor in human motion.Application of POF sensor in human motion.[3]

  • Photocatalytic Application
    POFs are considered to have potential use in photocatalytic environmental purification systems. Hyunku Joo et al. studied the application of POF in photocatalytic trichloroethylene using POF as the light transmission medium and substrate. In this work, a cylindrical POFs bundled array reactor was manufactured and its working principle was shown for the case of single fiber. The reactor system consists of a light source, a coated fiber-optic bundle, and a reactor in which the bundle is contained. Light was focused into the bundle and transmitted through the fibers. [4]

Schematic diagram of working principle of POF in the photocatalysis.Schematic diagram of working principle of POF in the photocatalysis.


  1. Silvio Abrate. Handbook of Fiber Optic Data Communication (Fourth Edition), 2013, 37-54.
  2. Arnaldo Leal-Junior, et al. Sensors, 2018, 18(1), 301.
  3. Arnaldo G. Leal-Junior, et al. Sensors, 2019, 19(14), 3156.
  4. Hyunku Joo, et al. Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells, 79, 1, 93-101.

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