Optical fibres typically include a transparent core surrounded by a transparent cladding material with a lower index of refraction. Light is kept in the core by the phenomenon of total internal reflection which causes the fibre to act as a waveguide.
Fibres that support many propagation paths or transverse modes are called multi-mode fibres, while those that support a single mode are called single-mode fibres.
Multi-mode fibres generally have a wider core diameter and are used for short-distance communication links and for applications where high power must be transmitted.
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