Archive for the 'General' Category

Mar 03 2010

New Flexible Interfaces to Micron Optics Fiber Optic Sensor Interrogation Instruments

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Micron Optics has just released v1.0 of our ENLIGHT Sensing Software. Users have been enjoying Beta versions of ENLIGHT for more than a year, and they have been offering suggestions for new features and improvements. We’ve incorporated many of these ideas in this major upgrade to ENLIGHT.

ENLIGHT allows users to get their sensor systems up and running in just a few minutes. The process begins with defining all of the instrument settings in the Acquisitions Tab and then quickly creating FBGs and sensors in the Sensors Tab (using new automated tools and templates). The Save Tab provides greatly enhanced flexibility to save select sensor information based on triggered events, timed intervals, file sizes, etc. All of these ENLIGHT functions are greatly enhanced with new ease-of-use features. This makes it easier than ever for ENLIGHT to perform all the signal conditioning to output what users need — data in terms of strain, temperature, pressure, acceleration, displacement, degrees of tilt, etc. See more about ENLIGHT at ENLIGHT’s new Facebook page. Or download this free software to see for yourself.ENLIGHT download button

More Good News for LabVIEW Users.

ENLIGHT’s Charts and Images provide easy to use basic data disply options. However, many FBG sensor users want more data display and analysis flexibility. ENLIGHT can also accomodate this. The Remote Command Interface (RCI) allows you to run ENLIGHT in the background as you stream forward the sensor data you want to display. You can use any environment you wish to make the exact charts you want. There is a LabVIEW RCI example included in the ENLIGHT download. (The RCI can also be driven from other programming envoronments like C++ and Visual Basic.)

Since developing our first FBG sensor interrogator in 1996, Micron Optics engineers have used LabVIEW as the primary tool for building user interfaces, and we’ve shipped LabVIEW examples with every instrument. Now the true LabVIEW experts at National Instruments (NI) have created drivers for Micron Optics’ most popular platforms — the sm125 and sm130 Optical Sensor Interrogators. With these new drivers, Micron Optics’ interrogator users have more tools than ever for creating custom user interfaces in LabVIEW. Find out more here:

National Instruments logo Certified Instrument Drivers


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Feb 26 2010

Measuring Strain on a ~600°C Surface

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Most fiber Bragg grating (FBG) sensors are stable and robust in wet, corrosive and high EMI environments, and many work well over a broad range of temperature, e.g., -200 to +275 °C. But above 300 °C, the fiber coating materials, and the FBGs themselves, are subject to degradation and failure.

So what can be done at high temperature? I’ve written earlier about development of special gratings that can measure temperature to 1000 °C, but we’ve seen nothing for measuring strain at high temperature — until now.

Mercury Sensor Systems, LLC of Austin, Texas has recently developed just such a sensor called the Vulcan 1100. Using the Micron Optics’ standard os3120 strain gage as the base sensing element, Mercury’s patented special mounting system allows the FBG in the os3120 to operate below 200 °C while precisely transferring the strain to the FBG. A second FBG sensor (a Micron Optics os4210), integrated in the same package with the strain gage provides active temperature compensation. The Vulcan’s rugged package makes it ideal for its target applications in petroleum and chemical processing.

Find details at ( or contact Pat Doggett at

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Feb 26 2010

New Release of ENLIGHT, Sensing Analysis Software

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Last week, Micron Optics released the newest version of ENLIGHT, Micron Optics sensing analysis sofware. v1.0 is the first major ENLIGHT update since its initial beta release, and the Micron Optics team is very excited to see the new features deployed in your measurement systems. There are literally hundreds of enhancements, both minor and major, that have been made to extend the functionality and ease the use ENLIGHT.

Some of the highlights include:
-Micron Optics Sensor templates.
-Enhanced data logging capabilities.
-Wavelength tracking and distance compensation for x25 interrogator cores.
-Multi-element (control-click, shift-click) selections in tables. Cut and paste support for sensor expressions.
-FBG calculation shorthand expressions.
-Numerous sensor creation and management tools: constants, create from template, duplicate sensors.
-Sensor groups, averaging, independent zeroing, rate of change calculations, …
-Sensor sub expressions and operating temperature range controls.
-On board module diagnostics collection.
-New ENLIGHT Remote Command Interface.

To download the latest version, visit Micron Optics website and click on the ENLIGHT button

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Dec 14 2009

Structural Health Monitoring at Princeton University

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When I speak to groups of engineers about FOS applications, typically fewer than 10% have even heard of optical sensors. The same is true for engineering students. But that is changing. More universities are finding clever ways to expose their students to FOS and other important technological tools.

The Structural Health Monitoring Lab at Princeton University is a shining example. Led by Professor Branko Glisic, the SHM lab at Princeton University has installed both FBG based and Brillioun FOS sensors on a signature pedestrian bridge on campus – Streicker Bridge. The goals include education and research activities — providing students with hands on installation experience, developing data reduction and analysis methods, showcasing the benefits and costs of such lifetime SHM systems, reducing maintenance costs for the bridge, and ultimately ensuring the bridge’s safe operation over decades of use.

The project is included in a Princeton University course on SHM. To the the best of my knowledge, it’s the first such course in the US on SHM for civil engineering students. Perhaps Professor Glisic’s students will be the first generation in the US to recognize and implement long term SHM systems as a means to reduce maintenance costs and improve safety of our nation’s bridges.

Professor Glisic recently joined the Princeton faculty following more than a decade of engineering and installing SHM systems commercially, and Micron Optics is proud to be the supplier of FBG interrogation system for Streicker Bridge project. Glisic says, “Fiber-optic sensing (FOS) technologies are used since the optical fibers feature high sensitivity, durability and long-term stability. The FBG long-gage sensors can monitor average strain, average shear strain, average curvature, deformed shape, and temperature in inhomogeneous materials such as concrete, and allows global structural monitoring in both static and high frequency dynamic mode. The BOTDA distributed sensors provide for average strain, integrity, and temperature monitoring. Each type sensor is interrogated with appropriate proven and reliable high-performance reading unit.”

Find out more about Branko Glisic, the SHM Lab and Princeton’s Streiker Bridge at:

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