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An international collaboration has found new use for damaged optical fibers, in measuring magnetic fields. Researchers have developed a sensor design that is significantly more sensitive than conventional fiber optic methods of magnetic detection, relying on the “fiber fuse effect” that occurs when high-powered light is injected into an optical fiber with tight bends, bad connectors, and other less-than-ideal conditions. When high-powered light is injected into such a fiber, the optical energy becomes trapped in the core of the fiber, leading to an optical discharge that moves toward the light source. The effect damages the fiber in the process.
The team from Yokohama National University, Federal University of…