Fiber Optic Lighting Systems consist of two main components – the fiber optic assembly and the fiber optic illuminator. A cable made from optical fiber is used to carry the light from its source inside the illuminator to the subject.
Fiber Optic Lighting has been known for decades as “cold lighting” due to the fact that the light source does not need to be near the illumination zone. This cable carries optical power in the visible range but is typically constructed to eliminate infrared and ultraviolet energy from being transmitted. For this reason, fiber optic lighting was the preferred method of illuminating microscopes for over 30 years. More recently, with the advent of high-efficiency LED lighting, use of fiber optics in microscopy is declining.
However, fiber optic lighting still maintains an edge in many applications. The compact nature of fiber optic cables makes fiber optic lighting ideal for applications where there is limited room near the illumination zone – so the use of fiber optics in certain types of equipment – semiconductor inspection equipment, medical equipment, etc. remains strong.
Fiber optic lighting is also very common when the application requires both visible and infrared content. This is referred to as multi-spectral and is becoming increasingly popular in many applications.