A mark of the success of optical fibers is that they are now regarded as conventional technology with widespread application in transmission networks. Recently it has been recognized that fiber fabrication techniques can be extended to produce novel fibers uniquely suited to a wide range of devices and applications. New fiber structures and materials can lead to considerable improvement in device performance, particularly in active and passive fiber components, sensors, and other elements of optical fiber circuitry.1 Existing special fibers are reviewed, and major areas where new fibers will have a strong impact will be identified.

© 1987 Optical Society of America

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