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In Lighting the Path to Innovation Blog
authored by FIBER OPTIC SENSING: A glimpse at innovation

The basic modern principal of fiber optics was first developed in the early 1840s in Paris. In its most basic form, fiber optics is used to transmit light from one component to another with the help of fine strands of glass or plastic fibers. Since the early days of fiber optics, light-based technologies have grown in function and form to be used in applications throughout industries, with the second half of the 20th century marking the accelerated use of the technology.

The advent of fiber Bragg Gratings (FBG) has enabled modern fiber optics sensing technology to expand its capabilities, extracting environmental parameters like strain, loads and temperature when light is passed through the fiber. When FBGs are strained or exposed to changing temperature, they reflect back a different wavelength of light. By measuring the changes in how the light reflects, FOS technology can provide real-time monitoring of applications regardless of the industry. These readings enable engineers to not only ensure the integrity, efficiency and durability of equipment, but also to create products that change industries.

With the world continuing to innovate at a phenomenal rate, the capabilities of FOS will expand to keep up with changing industry needs. The advancements in liquid level measurement are just one example of such progress. Unlike liquid level gauges that do not operate well in extreme temperatures, Sensuron’s unique platforms can operate in cryogenic fuel tanks and can locate data along the entire length of a single fiber, providing a comprehensive level of measurement. By determining the fuel level in a launch vehicle, Sensuron’s technology can help engineers optimize fluid levels in order to maximize payloads and save costs.

Immune to EMI, chemically inert, and operational in extreme temperatures, Sensuron’s embedded fibers can be monitored during the high temperature cure phase when building composite materials. This enables commercial airlines to determine the state of fatigue damage on critical components, allowing them to fine-tune maintenance schedules and minimize aircraft downtime. In addition, the intelligence gained by monitoring materials in this way means that engineers can learn how certain materials and structural components react to strain, temperature and pressure in such environments, meaning they can start to conceptualize and start building the next-generation of planes. Other industries can also benefit from knowledge of the physical state of structures like rotor blades, beams, and pressure vessels.

Another advantage of Sensuron’s technology lies in the quick refresh rate, which is four times faster than comparable technology. Unlike other FOS technologies, Sensuron’s platforms do not force users to sacrifice refresh rate for spatial resolution and sensing length.

In addition to the advances in liquid level monitoring and sampling rates, miniaturization and speed of equipment continues to dictate how FOS technology evolves. In 2014 we launched to market the RTS125, an interrogator roughly the size of a loaf of bread. This has enabled commercial airlines and space expeditions to monitor their systems with FOS technology onboard, even when weight and size restrictions are a concern. Additionally our systems can be used in wind turbines to monitor shape and structural health of the blade to ensure longer equipment uptime and cut back on maintenance costs.

While the majority of sensing instruments can only sense strain at critical points of a structural component, Sensuron’s FOS technology continues to enable measurements that were previously out of the realm of possibility. Across industries, engineers are utilizing our cutting-edge technology to not only solve the problems of today, but also to innovate into the future. Visit our learning center for more information on Sensuron’s innovations and applicable use cases for your technology.

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