Keeping Those Fiber Connectors Clean – What Is Dirt Anyway?

July 19th, 2018

What are contaminates? ( fancy word for dirt!)

The design of connectors and production procedures has eliminated most of the difficulties in acquiring core alignment and physical contact. However, maintaining a clean connector still remains a challenge.

Dirt is all around us. Almost all field-test failures can be attributed to dirty connectors. Many connectors are not inspected until they fail and usually permanent damage has already occurred.

If particles of dirt get onto the core surface the light becomes blocked. This creates unwanted high insertion loss and back reflection. Contaminates can permanently damage the glass interface. It can dig into the glass leaving pits that create further back reflection if mated. Large pieces of dirt or contaminates on the cladding layer can introduce a physical barrier that prevents physical contact and creates an air gap between the fibers. This allows for smaller loose particles to migrate into the air gap causing even more insertion loss and back reflection.

Oil from hands, dust, epoxy resin, saliva, lint, gypsum are among the contaminates that can effect a connectors performance.

Stay tuned for more on cleaning fiber connectors!

Thanks to for the picture.