Glass: The Carrier of Light - A Brief History of Optical Fiber

John Ballato, Peter Dragic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


All voice and data communications employ silica glass optical fiber at some point in their nearly instantaneous transmission. This is enabled globally by the annual production of over 180 million kilometers of optical fiber. Since the first low-loss fiber installations, nearly 2 billion kilometers have been manufactured, which is enough to connect the Earth with Jupiter. Given such a rare combination of ubiquity and utility, this article reviews the history of glass optical fiber and provides commentary on recent developments, and musings on their future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)413-422
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Applied Glass Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016


  • glass
  • lasers
  • optical fiber
  • optical properties

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)

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