We have all been there. I just spent the last 20 minutes polishing a connector only to find small scratches or a fracture when I look at it in my inspection scope. Another technician hands me a single sheet of diamond film and a few figure-8's later the connector endface looks flawless.
The problem is what we can't see when we look through that microscope. Fiber optic connectors use a zirconia ferrule, the reason is zirconia is harder than most material including the glass inserted into the center of a connector. This makes it easy to polish down the glass on a connector without reducing the ferrule itself. Diamond polishing film is one of only a few materials strong enough to sand down both the glass fiber and the zirconia ferrule. Why is this bad? Well, the end of a fiber connector is not flat, it's actually a dome shape. This allows only the center of the connector ferrule to contact a mated connector ferrule. When a ferrule is polished down too far with diamond film, an air gap is created between the mated pair causing a high dB loss. Diamond film also puts tiny scratches into the glass and endface invisible to the eye that can increase reflectance. This reflectance can restrict a network's performance from an optimal 40Gbps down to as little as 100 Mb.
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That diamond film is used sparingly by technicians and only on multimode networks where the core alignment is not as critical.
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