America 1970-1979: Science and Technology Research Article from American Decades

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Improving Telephones.

Beginning in the mid 1960s researchers began to explore the possibilities of fiber optic technology. By the beginning of the 1970s it was apparent that fiber optics had tremendous potential to improve the clarity and speed of telephone signals. A single hair-thin optical fiber could carry as many messages as a thick copper-wire cable containing 512 wires. Unlike copper wires, the glass fiber is unaffected by motors, electrical generators, power lines, or lightning storms — common causes of static on the line.

How It Works.

The thin, extremely pure glass of an optical fiber, surrounded by a reflective casing, can bend light. This makes it possible to use light, specifically light generated by lasers, in place of electricity. Light can be carried faster, more cheaply, and more efficiently than electrical signals. Sounds are converted into a pattern of light, transmitted, received at the other...

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This section contains 267 words
(approx. 1 page at 300 words per page)
Buy the America 1970-1979: Science and Technology Encyclopedia Article
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America 1970-1979: Science and Technology from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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