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Applied Optics

Applied Optics


  • Vol. 37, Iss. 15 — May. 20, 1998
  • pp: 3198–3200

Is polar bear hair fiber optic?

Daniel W. Koon  »View Author Affiliations

Applied Optics, Vol. 37, Issue 15, pp. 3198-3200 (1998)

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New direct measurement of high optical attenuation rates in polar bear hairs—2–8 dB/mm in the visible—and reanalysis of the data of Tributsch et al. [ Sol. Energy Mater. 21, 219 (1990)] seem to rule out the UV waveguiding proposed by Grojean et al. [ Appl. Opt. 19, 339 (1980)]. The case against fiber-optic polar bear hairs is summarized, and four conditions are given that any variation of the model of Grojean et al. would have to satisfy.

© 1998 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(060.0060) Fiber optics and optical communications : Fiber optics and optical communications
(060.2290) Fiber optics and optical communications : Fiber materials
(120.7000) Instrumentation, measurement, and metrology : Transmission
(160.2290) Materials : Fiber materials
(170.3660) Medical optics and biotechnology : Light propagation in tissues
(300.1030) Spectroscopy : Absorption

Original Manuscript: August 28, 1997
Revised Manuscript: December 24, 1997
Published: May 20, 1998

Daniel W. Koon, "Is polar bear hair fiber optic?," Appl. Opt. 37, 3198-3200 (1998)

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  1. D. M. Lavigne, N. A. Øritsland, “Ultraviolet photography: a new application for remote sensing of mammals,” Can. J. Zool. 52, 939–943 (1974). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  2. D. M. Lavigne, N. A. Øritsland, “Black polar bears,” Nature (London) 251, 218–219 (1974). [CrossRef]
  3. D. M. Lavigne, K. Ronald, “Solar heating of mammals: observations of hair transmittance,” Int. J. Biometerol. 22, 197–201 (1978). [CrossRef]
  4. R. E. Grojean, J. A. Sousa, M. C. Henry, “Utilization of solar radiation by polar animals: an optical model for pelts,” Appl. Opt. 19, 339–346 (1980). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  5. H. Tributsch, H. Goslowsky, U. Küppers, H. Wetzel, “Light collection and solar sensing through the polar bear pelt,” Sol. Energy Mater. 21, 219–236 (1990). [CrossRef]
  6. C. F. Bohren, J. M. Sardie, “Utilization of solar radiation by polar animals: an optical model for pelts; an alternative explanation,” Appl. Opt. 20, 1894–1896 (1981). [CrossRef]
  7. D. M. Lavigne, “Letter to the editor,” Sci. Amer. 259, 8 (1988).
  8. See, for example, Anonymous, “Furry funnels: transparency of polar bear hair,” Time 112, 82–83 (4, Dec.1978);B. Lopez, Arctic Dreams (Scribner’s, N.Y.1986) p. 85;S. D. Mirsky, “Solar polar bears,” Sci. Am. 258, 25–26 (1988).
  9. New England Science Center, Worcester, Massachusetts, http://www.nesc.org/publications/presskit/brochure.html (1997).
  10. E. G. Bendit, D. Ross, “Techniques for obtaining the ultraviolet absorption spectrum of solid keratin,” Appl. Spectrosc. 15, 103 (1961). [CrossRef]
  11. R. C. Hutchins, St. Lawrence University, Canton, New York 13617 (personal communication, 1997).

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