Fiber optic lighting has a lot to offer. Fiber optic lighting refers to the use of optical fiber, and its ability to transmit light, as a source of light for decorative or practical applications. When optical fibers are used for illumination, they are sometimes wrapped in bundles, thereby giving them the ability to transmit images as well. Fiber optic lighting utilizes the principle of total internal reflection, transmitting light throughout the length of an optical fiber with negligible dimming or loss of energy. Optical fiber itself consists of several inner layers, including the core, which transmits the light waves, and the cladding around it. The cladding is made of a material which has a lower refractive index than the core. This means that for light to pass from the core out through the cladding, it would have to slow down. Instead, the light waves take what might be called the path of least resistance by reflecting only in the core through the length of the fiber, to then be visible at the other end.
This means that optical fiber can be bent around corners or in a spiral shape and still only emit light at the end of the fiber. Price is the primary obstacle in installing fiber optic lighting. Hardware costs are high, requiring the purchase of an illuminator, connecting fiber-optic cable and individual lightingunits for the entire system. Installation costs must also be considered, and depending on the system, they can be quite high as well.