This year, we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the invention of low-loss optical fiber — an innovation that has transformed the way we connect and that lies at the cornerstone of our communications revolution. In a Corning lab on a Friday afternoon five decades ago, a single strand of glass and a bright spot of light set the world on an epic path of continuous innovation.
Optical fiber shapes the networks that connect us to each other, today - and to the boundless possibilities of tomorrow. Whether you're making a phone call across the world, downloading a video on your tablet, or reading this article right now, optical fiber delivers the streamlined connectivity needed in today's high-speed world.
In the mid-1960s, the race was on to replace the existing copper wire infrastructure used to transfer data and voice, as it clearly lacked the bandwidth for the future. Building on a long history of innovation, Corning researchers developed a new, highly pure optical glass thinner than a human hair that could effectively transmit light signals over long distances for the first time. While clearly a major achievement, they never imagined how fully their invention would revolutionize the telecommunications industry.
Today, the majority of signals still travel along fiber optic networks and utilize the same basic principles of data transmission today. Corning’s iconic innovation continues to harness light and shape the way we communicate — sending voice, emails, music and videos around the world at the speed of light.
With Corning’s continued emphasis on research and development to meet our changing needs, the optical fiber revolution that began over half a century ago will continue to fuel advancements in connectivity for generations to come.