A fiber-optic Christmas tree is a type of artificial decorative tree that is typically used indoors and meant for display around the celebration of Christmas. This type of tree can be made in a number of different ways, and may range from a plastic tree that uses optical fibers to provide lighting for the tree to a multitude of optical fibers arranged in the general shape of a tree to create an abstract impression of a tree using light. A fiber-optic Christmas tree typically requires less maintenance than other types of artificial trees, and may require less power as well.
There are many different ways in which a fiber-optic Christmas tree can be designed, and a number of different manufacturers that make them. In general, however, these trees are typically pre-lit using optical fibers, sometimes called fiber optics, to provide lighting for the tree. Optical fibers are thin cables that transmit light and other forms of energy signals throughout them, using different levels of reflection to allow the light to escape only where it is intended to do so. This allows a tree to be designed using optical fibers to light the tree in specific points or to provide overall lighting throughout the fibers.
One of the most common types of fiber-optic Christmas tree is an artificial tree with plastic limbs and “needles” that is pre-lit using optical fibers. This type of tree is generally similar in shape to an actual pine tree, with limbs and needles made from metal and plastic, from which other ornaments can be hung. Optical fibers are placed through the tree and designed to emit light only at their tips. One or more light sources is then used with the Christmas tree to illuminate the optical fibers, and the tip of each one provides lighting for the tree, fairly similar to traditional Christmas tree light bulbs.
The other common type of fiber-optic Christmas tree consists entirely, or almost entirely, of optical fibers and does not use metal or plastic to create artificial pine tree limbs. This type of tree usually has a base and central pillar, similar to the trunk of the tree, which can be illuminated as well and from which hundreds of optical fibers extend. These are designed to provide illumination throughout their length, rather than only at their tips, and are arranged to create the overall shape of a pine tree. The entire shape of the fiber-optic Christmas tree consists of light, and it can even be designed to change colors while illuminated.