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What is POF?

Plastic Optical Fiber (POF) is a unique member of the optical fiber family. POF is made of Poly Methyl Methacrylate (PMMA), with a large core diameter (~1 mm) and high numerical aperture (NA 0.3 – 0.5). The figure shows a comparison of a typical POF geometry compared to another well-known optical fiber, the Multi-Mode Glass Optical Fiber (MM-GOF). It is easy to appreciate the huge core diameter (20x) as well as the relatively thin clad of POF compared to MM-GOF.

Thanks to its huge core diameter, POF is immune to misalignments and strong vibrations, and can be installed in rugged industrial and automotive environments without any loss of communication capacity. POF is ideally suited for deployment either by a professional installer or a do-it-yourself installer using basic tools, such as a pair of scissors or a cutter, and inexpensive plastic connectors.

An optical transmission media, POF is completely immune to electrical noise. For example, existing copper wire installations will not interfere with data passing through POF lines, so POF can be installed anywhere next to electrical cabling. POF and its connectors and optoelectronics are low cost consumer parts that enable installers to save on cable costs and installation, as well as testing and maintenance time.

Widely used in over 20 million cars for infotainment networks, POF is part of the automotive standard MOST® (Media Oriented Systems Transport) for high-speed data transmission in car networks.

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