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Important Note

The Corning Museum of Glass is temporarily closed as we do our part to limit the spread of COVID-19. All previously scheduled classes, events, and programs are cancelled until further notice.

Optical Fiber Demo

Optical Fiber Demo

The Optical Fiber Demo explains how thin threads of glass can carry enormous amounts of digital information and power our high-speed information age. The demo lasts about 15 minutes, is offered every day, and is included in the cost of admission. See today's schedule

Demonstrators show how light can be used for communication, how glass can accurately carry light signals, what glass composition will carry light signals most clearly, and how optical fiber provides us with the massive amounts of bandwidth necessary for today’s world.

The presentation begins with a discussion of how people have been using light to communicate for several centuries. It continues with a demonstration of total internal reflection – the basic principle behind optical fiber. In the mid-1800s Daniel Colladon, a Swiss scientist, explained how total internal reflection allows light to be directed along a very specific path, using lively visible demonstrations that showed light following the path of a stream of falling water. Total internal reflection traps the light in the stream, and traps it the same way in a glass fiber.

The Optical Fiber Demo takes place in the Glass Innovation Center where you can learn more about the invention of optical fiber, which took place right here in Corning, New York.