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Proceedings Paper

Miniature fiber optic loop subcomponent for compact sensors and dense routing
Author(s): Frederick J. Gillham; David W. Stowe; Thomas R. Ouellette; Adrian P. Pryshlak
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Paper Abstract

Fiber optic data links and embedded sensors, such as Fabry- Perot and Mach-Zehnders, are important elements in smart structure architectures. Unfortunately, one problem with optical fiber is the inherent limit through which fibers and cables can be looped. A revolutionary, patented technology has been developed which overcomes this problem. Based on processing the fiber into low loss miniature bends, it permits routing the fiber to difficult areas, and minimizing the size of sensors and components. The minimum bend diameter for singlemode fiber is typically over two inches in diameter, to avoid light attenuation and limit stresses which could prematurely break the fiber. With the new miniature bend technology, bend diameters as small as 1 mm are readily achieved. One embodiment is a sub-component with standard singlemode fiber formed into a 180 degree bend and packaged in a glass tube only 1.5 mm OD X 8 mm long, Figure 1. Measured insertion loss is less than 0.2 dB from 1260 nm to 1680 nm. A final processing step which anneals the fiber into the eventual curvature, reduces the internal stress, thereby resulting in long life expectancy with robust immunity to external loading. This paper addresses the optical and physical performance of the sub-component. Particular attention is paid to attenuation spectra, polarization dependent loss, reflectance, thermal cycle, damp heat, and shock tests. Applications are presented which employs the bend technology. Concatenating right angle bends into a 'wire harness' demonstrates the ability to route fiber through a smart engine or satellite structure. Miniature optical coils are proposed for sensors and expansion joints.

Paper Details

Date Published: 31 May 1999
PDF: 6 pages
Proc. SPIE 3670, Smart Structures and Materials 1999: Sensory Phenomena and Measurement Instrumentation for Smart Structures and Materials, (31 May 1999); doi: 10.1117/12.349733
Show Author Affiliations
Frederick J. Gillham, Thomas & Betts Aster Corp. (United States)
David W. Stowe, Thomas & Betts Aster Corp. (United States)
Thomas R. Ouellette, Thomas & Betts Aster Corp. (United States)
Adrian P. Pryshlak, Thomas & Betts Aster Corp. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3670:
Smart Structures and Materials 1999: Sensory Phenomena and Measurement Instrumentation for Smart Structures and Materials
Richard O. Claus; William B. Spillman, Editor(s)

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