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Fiber-Optic Strain Gauge With High Resolution And Update Rate

Changes in strain are correlated with changes in speckle patterns. Stennis Space Center, Mississippi An improved fiber-optic strain gauge is capable of measuring strains in the approximate range of 0 to 50 microstrains with a resolution of 0.1 microstrain. (To some extent, the resolution of the strain gauge can be tailored and may be extensible to 0.01 microstrain.) The total cost of the hardware components of this strain gauge is less than $100 at 2006 prices. In comparison with prior strain gauges capable of measurement of such low strains, this strain gauge is more accurate, more economical, and more robust, and it operates at a higher update rate. Strain gauges like this one are useful mainly for measuring small strains (including those associated with vibrations) in such structures as rocket test stands, buildings, oilrigs, bridges, and dams. The technology was inspired by the need to measure very small strains on structures supporting liquid oxygen tanks, as a way to measure accurately mass of liquid oxygen during rocket engine testing.

Posted in: Briefs, ptb catchall, Tech Briefs, Photonics

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Product of the Month: Optical Receiver Stress Test Set

Agilent Technologies (Santa Clara, CA) has introduced the N4917A optical receiver stress test set to provide repeatable conformance and characterization test results. The design allows users to accurately characterize and verify standard conformance of receiver optical subassemblies and transceiver modules operating up to 12.5 Gb/s. The test set provides the calibrated injection of optical modulation amplitude (OMA), extinction ratio (ER), and vertical eye closure penalty (VECP) through automation software controls.

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Fiber Optical Switches

Laser Components IG (Hudson, NH) has introduced a series of fiber optical switches with core diameters of up to 600 μm. The "mol 1×N" and "mol 2×N" feature switching times of two milliseconds and low signal loss (less than 0.5 dB). The switches are available in various configurations, and come with or without a connector in compact housings, table housings, or 19" insertions.

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Positioning and Scanning System

The P-363 PicoCubeTM positioning and scanning system from PI L.P. (Auburn, MA) is designed to provide ultra-high resolution and positional stability together with its E-536 driver/controller. Features of the P-363 include a high-speed XYZ scanner for AFM/SPM and manipulation tool for nanotechnology, high-stiffness shear piezo drives with up to 10 kHz resonant frequency, 0.025-nm resolution, capacitive feedback, parallel metrology, and vacuum compatibility.

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LED Backlighting

CI Lumen Industries (Hauppauge, NY) has introduced a light-emitting-diode (LED) backlighting solution for display panels. The technology, applicable for military or industrial end-uses, conserves power, features heat-relevant elevated brightness levels, and may be applied to LCD panels produced by other manufacturers. Developed for hi-bright panels requiring brightness levels of 800 nits or more, the technology can be utilized on LEDs ranging from 5 to 19", and hibrighted to 800 to 1,300 nits.

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Diode Laser

Point Source (Hamble, UK) offers a 20-mW blue diode laser with a TEM00 true Gaussian beam, a higher power version of their range of iFLEX2000TM fiber-coupled lasers. The laser beam conditioning is performed using a single mode fiber, reducing beam astigmatism and spatial noise. The device employs a forward closed loop power control that resists optical feedback. Short-term amplitude noise is reduced and the stability of output is augmented. Applications include biomedical fluorescence imaging and optical media.

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Raman Spectrometer

The SE1000 Raman spectrometer from Mesophotonics (Southampton, UK) allows users to perform non-invasive, non-destructive analysis of materials with no sample preparation. The technique reports information on the molecular structure, identifying the material under scrutiny. It performs Surface-Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS) analysis on low concentrations of material by deposition onto the company's Klarite® SERS substrates.

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