Perfluorinated GI-POF combines high performance with ease-of-use.

Until recently, the only commercially available types of POF have been step-index fibers based on non-fluorinated polymers such as polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA). Because these traditional types of plastic optical fiber have high attenuation and large modal dispersion, they are restricted to very low performance applications – usually distances under 50 meters and bit rates less than 100 Mb/s. Also, traditional polymer optical fiber materials like PMMA have strong absorption in the near infrared. As a result, they can only be used at a few wavelengths in the visible portion of the spectrum, typically 530 nm and 650 nm. Unfortunately, almost all gigabit optical sources operate in the near-infrared (typically 850nm or 1300 nm), where PMMA and similar polymers are essentially opaque.

The next generation in POF technology began with the application of an amorphous perfluorinated polymer – polyperfluoro-butenylvinylether – to GI-POF. Because this polymer has very low attenuation (around 10 dB/km) in the near infrared, it is immediately compatible with gigabit transmission sources, and can be used over distances of hundreds of meters. Also, because this perfluorinated fiber can be made with a graded refractive index, it can support bandwidths more than 100 times larger than conventional step-index PMMA POF. Most Chromis products are based on this next-generation POF technology.

Being a plastic fiber, perfluorinated GI-POF is very easy to install and use, unlike conventional glass fibers. To put connectors on a glass fiber, one needs to cleave the fiber using an expensive, specialized tool, and then it is necessary to epoxy the fiber to the connector hardware and polish the assembled connector. With a plastic fiber, an inexpensive, simple tool is all you need to terminate the fiber, and connectors can just be crimped on. The operation only takes a fraction of the time needed to connectorize glass fibers. Perfluorinated GI-POF optical links are easier and simpler to use, as well as high-performing.