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A Gift From God

Development of "Ultra Low Attenuation Optical Fiber", the Symbol of Fujikuraism

Phase.2 Back Against the Wall

With a fighting spirit providing motivation, we embarked on our goal with our backs against the wall. It was a place of full competition. And then, came the time for the name of Fujikura to resound throughout the world.

In addition to our social mission, a sense of crisis that "We have no future unless we prevail over others in the development of optical fiber," drove us to embark on research & development with our backs against the wall. The joint research with the Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Public Corporation turned out to be a place of complete competition where we could present our achievements of research on a monthly basis and win-loss results were determined. The first research theme selected was "An approach to ultra low attenuation status." Once the project started, the target was brought higher and higher. The research staff had no time to spend in vain and devoted themselves day after day to experiments so ardently that they often forgot to eat or sleep. They repeated assumptions and verifications over and over using the Bell Telephone Laboratory's method (Modified Chemical Vapour Deposition (MCVD) method) that was then most advanced. Soon, Fujikura was able to achieve a fiber with a 0.85 μm wave length and 1.5 dB/km loss. The analysis result of this fiber showed one characteristic different from existing fibers.

A graph showing the relationship between the wave length and loss of the then silica-glass optical fiber showed a big loss caused by water (hydroxyl) in the optical fiber near the 0.95 μm wavelength. The fiber made by Fujikura, however, had extremely little loss due to this water, because Fujikura's research staff had thoroughly pursued the technique to drain water in success. The Ibaraki Communication Laboratory of Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Public Corporation that initially noticed the importance of Fujikura's optical fiber used a precision measuring apparatus with a 1.1 to 3 μm long wave length zone that they had so far developed to make measurements across a longer wavelength area. As a result, they discovered in March 1976 an extremely small point of loss that approached the logical limit value of wavelength of 1.2 μm and 0.47 dB/km.

Thesis posted 

on Electronics Letters
Thesis posted on Electronics Letters
They posted this epoch-making achievement jointly with the Ibaraki Communication Laboratory in a journal of the Institution of Electrical Engineers of the United Kingdom called "Electronics Letters." This thesis, titled "The wavelength loss property of optical fiber with less hydroxyl" was featured in the June 10, 1976 issue and has become "one of the most frequently cited theses in the world." It was also honored with the Achievement Award of the Institute of Telecommunications Engineers (1976) and the Researchers Award of the Science and Technology Agency (1978) in addition to the Best Paper Award from IEE (UK). Such honors immediately propelled the name of Fujikura to resound throughout the world, ever since the Company has continued to be the top runner in the area of low attenuation fiber.

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