Archive for the 'OS Technology' Category

Sep 02 2010

Why Use a Swept Laser?

Published by under General,OS Technology

We are frequently asked, “Why is Micron Optics’ swept laser (SL) technology so prevalent in the marketplace?”

Micron Optics’ patented, SL technology is built upon the highest performing and reliable optical-scanning technology known today: the Fiber Fabry-Perot Tunable Filter (FFP-TF). Its simple and elegant design allows our lasers to:
• scan wider (up to 360nm)
• tune faster (up to 100KHz)
• probe deeper (signal-to-noise ratio exceeds 75dB)

It is important to note that this is a swept, not tunable, laser. The swept laser scans the optical spectrum continuously, effectively providing infinite optical resolution; whereas a tunable laser scans in discrete wavelength steps. There is nothing to wear out in the Micron Optics SL design – no gears or motors. It is inherently rugged; in fact, it has survived shock tests to well over 3000 g’s!

This superior optical performance translates to valuable measurement performance characteristics like large sensor capacity (the wider the scan range, the more sensors can be monitored), fast sampling rates, high accuracy (a verifiable, NIST traceable 1pm) and long-term reliability.

Micron Optics’ SL technology is ever-improving too. Our Product Development team is devoted to constant design enhancements and reliability improvements. Micron Optics’ SL technology simply provides more capable, more versatile, and more reliable lasers than other designs.

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Aug 06 2010

FBG Sensors during Indoor Lightning Storm

Published by under General,OS Technology,Sensors

NI Week is National Instruments’ annual worldwide conference on measurement and automation. In this forum, NI announces its most exciting new products. In this year’s keynote, NI announced in spectacular fashion their first FBG interrogator instrument — the PXIe-4844.

This new interrogator is a result of a deep engineering collaboration between Micron Optics and NI. It combines several important technologies and capabilities:

1) Micron Optics’ world leading swept laser optical sensor interrogation technology
2) Micron Optics’ patented, NIST traceable wavelength calibration technology
3) NI’s rugged and versatile PXI Express instrumentation platform
4) NI-OSI Explorer for configuration and NI-OSI LabVIEW Driver Software for application development in NI LabVIEW
5) NI’s worldwide sales, marketing and support organization to promote FOS solutions

NI and Micron Optics share a similar vision for FOS applications. That is, the unique advantages of fiber sensors will complement, and in some cases will work side by side with, conventional electrical based sensors. Broader availability and awareness of FOS interrogators and sensors surely help engineers and scientists solve measurement problems that may have been unsolvable until now.

Of course we’re pleased that NI chose Micron Optics to design and build the core of their interrogator, but perhaps it’s even more important that this large, well respected and influential company is investing in introducing FOS to thousands of new users. We think that all users, manufacturers, and sellers of FOS technologies will benefit by NI’s bold entry into this technology.

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Jun 24 2010

Monitoring Temperature in Fuel Cells

Previously in this blog, and elsewhere, we’ve extolled the virtues of FBGs — like their small size, immunity to EMI, and resistance to corrosive environments.  In a recent paper in the Journal of Power Sources, Nigel A. David and a team from the University of Victoria, Canada have demonstrated the importance of each of these FBG sensor characteristics for their application.  David and his colleagues are interested in polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells.  These are thin, flat structures that have an electrochemically active environment inside.  David et al detail how others have tried electrical and infrared optical techniques to characterize the performance of PEMs and how these methods come up short.  David concludes that using embedded FBG sensors “reliably measure[s] temperature dynamically with a relative resolution of less than 0.2 DEG C,” and is an inexpensive approach that may prove useful for understanding current distribution across the PEM cell.

FBG measurements in this study involved both Micron Optics instrumentation and sensors, specifically the sm130 Optical Sensor Interrogator and os1100 FBGs.  See the full paper at: Science Direct




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Jan 06 2010

Fiber Optic Sensors in Geosynthetics

Published by under OS Technology,Sensors

FBG sensors are incredibly versatile.  They’re used in tiny medical devices and on huge bridges.  Often FBG and other types of fiber optic sensors are chosen when many measurements are needed over a long distance and the environment is harsh.  A good example of this is the use of FOS in geosynthetic materials used to reinforce earthworks. 

TenCate Geosynthetics will soon release a new product called Tencate GeoDetect.  It’s a geotextile fabric with fiber optic sensors integrated onto it.  Wilson Harvie, Director of Global Business Development for GeoDetect, will lead this product rollout.  
Speaking recently to industry experts, Wilson said “Tencate GeoDetect is the first sensor enabled geotextile on the market.  Approximately five years ago TenCate began work on creating an “intelligent” geotextile.  We discovered a way to embed fiber optic lines onto a geotextile fabric without damaging the fiber.  Our initial work was with FBG technology but has now grown to encompass Brillouin and Raman technologies.  We are able to place multiple fiber optic lines on geotextile fabric up to 5.3 meters wide that provides all of the functionality of a geotextile; reinforcement, drainage, separation and filtration as well as provide a mechanism for data acquisition.  We have also found that in addition to the functionality of a geotextile, Tencate GeoDetect provides a “distributed anchoring” system which provides an excellent interface with the soil.  Our tests have shown that almost all of the strain that occurs in the earth structure is transferred to the fiber optic line.”  
Micron Optics is a key partner to TenCate Geosynthetics for interrogation equipment and fiber optic expertise.  Find product description sheets, case studies and technical papers on Tencate GeoDetect at

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