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Is it possible for fiber optic cable be used to transmit "Power" to run machines as opposed to data?

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  • $\begingroup$ Not unless you can figure out how to blast a laser of a hundred watts or more through a material without melting that material and then trying to pick it up on the other end with solar cells without also melting them. $\endgroup$
    – DKNguyen
    Sep 5 at 21:39
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    $\begingroup$ Is it possible? almost always has a yes answer ... that makes the value of such a question somewhat suspect ... a question about achieving the goal is much more useful $\endgroup$
    – jsotola
    Sep 6 at 2:23
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Although probably not what you are after, there is Power-over-fiber, which is a technology analogous to "Power-over-Ethernet".

To be honest, I haven't seen any devices that take advantage of this capability, although this can be because fibre optics devices are not as common (?) as ethernet devices.

The idea behind a PoF system is able to provide power to a remote location utilizing Laser Light at the transmitter and a photovoltaic power converter at the remote location. The remote location device utilizes capacitors to ensure a smooth and constant voltage is supplied to the remotely powered devices.

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It depends on the your requirement but yes power can be transmitted through optical fiber. Optical Power can be transmitted through optical fiber like laser diode but the power efficiency is also comparatively low around 50-60%. The advantage is that for smaller distances the propagation loss is almost negligible.

Although an insulated copper wire is a simpler technology for transferring electric power, power over fiber offers advantages in specific situations:

  1. Non-conducting fiber cables (based on glass fibers or plastics) can be installed where high electric voltages occur. For example, a fiber can transmit power for a current transducer in a high-voltage transmission line. Such current sensors with an optical power isolator can replace bulky transformer systems.
  2. The insulating property is also useful when a device (e.g. some radio signal receiver) is connected to an antenna, which could be hit by lightnings. There is then no risk that lightning strokes are transmitted via the cable.
  3. Optical delivery of power avoids any sensitivity to strong magnetic fields (e.g. in magnetic resonance imaging) and to electromagnetic interference. Conversely, no electromagnetic radiation, which might disturb other devices, can be emitted, and also no DC magnetic fields are generated.
  4. There is no risk that explosive materials (e.g. in a fuel tank of an airplane) can be ignited, as could occur e.g. via an electric spark.
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  • $\begingroup$ You can also send light down a tube; the problem is in keeping the interior wall highly reflective. Then there are "holey fibers" which have an air core and a structure which supports low-order optical modes. $\endgroup$ Sep 7 at 11:50

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