01-05 optical fibers purple

[Image above] Credit: x_tine, Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)


On May 18, 2021, the United Nations General Assembly formally approved a resolution declaring the year 2022 as the International Year of Glass to celebrate the heritage and importance of this material in our lives.

The American Ceramic Society joins in this celebration by hosting and participating in events planned throughout the coming year. Today, we look specifically at what the ACerS journals have planned.

With more than a century in print, Journal of the American Ceramic Society has published many of the most important and influential papers in the history of glass science. Even now, Journal of the American Ceramic Society and International Journal of Applied Glass Science continue to set the standard of excellence for publications in glass science and engineering.

As part of the IYoG celebrations, ACerS is presenting the series “Glass: Then and Now,” which highlights ACerS journal articles that have played historically critical roles in advancing glass science and technology, as well as recently published articles that are setting future directions for the field.

Each month in 2022, we will feature articles on specific areas of glass science. Our publishing partner Wiley is opening each month’s articles as free-to-read during that month. As always, ACerS members enjoy full access to all ACerS journal articles as a benefit of membership.

This month’s topic is Optical fibers and photonics. John Ballato of Clemson University authored the following introductory notes on this topic. John is a leader in this field, having published many of its most cited articles. As you can see here and in two of the articles in this topic, his writing is eloquent. We thank John for his many contributions.

The natural transparency, formability, and beauty of glass, from windows to art pieces, has always brought it into outward-facing roles in society and technology. Indeed, what’s not to love about looking at glass?!

But glass also plays equally important roles behind-the-scenes. Arguably, the most central and societally impactful is in how we communicate. We live in a highly connected World that lives by data and all means of modern data transmission is done using glass and light.

This section of Glass: Then and Now brings the use of glass for optical fiber and photonics into the light. Optical fibers route light virtually instantaneously around the globe and enable all data communications underlying e-commerce, telehealth, social media, and the Internet of Things, to name just a few. It has been engineered to near perfection such that modern silica optical fibers, of which over 500,000,000 kilometers are manufactured annually, exhibit intrinsic strength and transparency. When the light coursing through the world’s fiber networks meets the electronic circuits that process all that data, here too glass plays an unseen but enabling role in photonic integrated circuits and nonlinear elements.

Glass and light, optical fibers and photonics… then, now, and always.

– John Ballato, Clemson University

Articles for Optical fibers and photonics

Glasses as nonlinear photonic materials
Environmental effects on the static fatigue of silica optical fibers 
A new twist on glass: A brittle material enabling flexible integrated photonics 
Glass: the carrier of light—A brief history of optical fiber 
Glass: The carrier of light—Part II—A brief look into the future of optical fiber 

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