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Bendable Fiber Optics
Jul 2007
Corning Inc., Specialty MaterialsRequest Info
Performs Over 100 Times Better Than Standard Single-Mode Fiber
CORNING, N.Y., July 25, 2007 -- Corning Inc. said this week it has developed new technology that allows cabled optical fiber to be bent around very tight corners with virtually no signal loss, solving an historic technical challenge for telecommunications carriers installing fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) networks.

Corning said the breakthrough is based on its "nanoStructures" optical fiber design that allows the fiber to be bent many times with almost on signal loss, attributes that will enable telecommunications carriers to economically offer true high-speed Internet, voice and HDTV services to virtually all commercial and residential (apartment and condominium) buildings.

Current optical fiber installations lose signal strength and effectiveness when bent around corners and routed through a building, making it difficult and expensive to run fiber all the way to customers' homes, Corning said.

"This is a game-changing technology for telecommunications applications," said Peter F. Volanakis, president and COO at Corning. "We have developed an optical fiber cable that is as rugged as copper cable but with all of the bandwidth benefits of fiber. By making fundamental changes in the way light travels in the fiber, we were able to create a new optical fiber that is over 100 times more bendable than standard fibers."

Corning's newest fiber technology achieves this while maintaining compatibility with industry performance standards, existing manufacturing processes and installation procedures. "So, customers don't have to sacrifice one benefit to get another," he said.

"There are more than 680 million apartment homes worldwide, including more than 25 million in the United States. The high cost of installation and difficulty in delivering fiber to the home made this market unappealing to most providers. We have been working closely with these carriers to create a solution that will make this more economically viable for them and for their customers," Volanakis said.

Corning said one of the early proponents of the technology was Verizon Communications Inc. In February, Corning and Verizon formed a joint team to solve the problems of multiple dwelling unit installation using the bendable optical fiber.

"Continued innovation in advanced telecommunications networks is critical to the long-term success of Verizon and our ability to provide our FiOS service on a mass scale in the United States," said Paul Lacouture, executive vice president of engineering and technology, Verizon Telecom Group. "We are working closely with Corning to solve the challenges of providing fiber solutions to high-rise apartment complexes across the United States. This fiber technology will enable us to bring faster Internet speeds, higher-quality high-definition content, and more interactive capabilities than any other platform which exists today."

Corning first introduced low-loss optical fiber in the early 1970s. Optical fibers are waveguides that transmit light within the fiber's central region, or core. However, with standard single-mode fiber, tight bends cause leakage of the light, resulting in signal loss or optical power degradation. A bend or curve that is too tight will result in total signal loss. With Corning's new nanoStructures design, the company said, the optical fiber maintains its signal strength when bent or curved, with performance results 100 times better than standard single-mode fibers.

According to the company, the new fiber also enables simpler and more aesthetically pleasing designs for the cable, hardware and equipment used in the deployment.

Corning said it will introduce a full suite of nanoStructures-based optical fiber, cable and hardware and equipment solutions at the Fiber-to-the-Home Conference in Orlando, Fla., Sept. 30–Oct. 4.

For more information, visit:

Corning Inc.
1 Riverfront Plaza
Corning, N.Y. 14831
Phone: (607) 974-9000


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Pertaining to optics and the phenomena of light.
optical fiber
A thin filament of drawn or extruded glass or plastic having a central core and a cladding of lower index material to promote total internal reflection (TIR). It may be used singly to transmit pulsed optical signals (communications fiber) or in bundles to transmit light or images.  
The technology of generating and harnessing light and other forms of radiant energy whose quantum unit is the photon. The science includes light emission, transmission, deflection, amplification and detection by optical components and instruments, lasers and other light sources, fiber optics, electro-optical instrumentation, related hardware and electronics, and sophisticated systems. The range of applications of photonics extends from energy generation to detection to communications and...
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