Luna enhances OBR to measure temperature, strain distribution

March 1, 2006 Blacksburg, VA -- Luna Technologies has announced what it calls "major enhancements" to its optical backscatter reflectometer (OBR) to make the instrument more useable over a wider range of applications. The company says the measurement tool now offers the ability to monitor temperature and strain distribution.

March 1, 2006 Blacksburg, VA -- Luna Technologies has announced what it calls "major enhancements" to its optical backscatter reflectometer (OBR) to make the instrument more useable over a wider range of applications.

The company says the measurement tool offers unmatched diagnostic capabilities to manufacturers of fiber-optic components and assemblies, and now offers the ability to monitor temperature and strain distribution. The tool's distributed sensing functionality in combination with the company's new Smart LightPath Analysis software gives users more capability to see what is really going on in their designs, translating directly in to time and cost savings and higher quality products, according to the company.

According to the company, with a length range of up to 500 m with millimeters of resolution, with the tool users can now monitor the effects ranging from component level heating in optical amplifiers to strain and load redistribution in aircraft harnesses. Other applications include temperature monitoring inside cabinets and enclosures, and smart fiber location to allow users to identify location in fiber assemblies simply by touching the fiber. The company says the OBR now measures phase shifts in the coherent Rayleigh backscatter from the fiber and components that comprise the assembly under test, thus eliminating the need for specialty sensing fiber.

The OBR comes packaged with the Smart LightPath Analysis software, which the company says is designed to take the guess-work out of assembling and manufacturing fiber-optic equipment. The company says the system produces easy-to-read, "push button" pass/fail results in seconds by analyzing measured data and automatically determining whether or not an optical build meets specification. The company says its Smart LightPath Analysis software can locate and discriminate between connectors, splices, fiber segments, and components such as modulators, detectors and receivers, all with millimeter resolution and accuracy over 500 m of length.

"The OBR was designed to give users unprecedented visibility into what is really happening in their fiber-optic assemblies," remarks Dr. Brian Soller, business director at Luna Technologies. "The instrument's enhancements further visibility by allowing users to 'see' not only losses and reflections, but other relevant quantities like temperature and strain changes. We asked, 'why not use the fiber itself as the sensor?' and the answer is our new Rayleigh-based technique. Luna's solution represents a tremendous leap forward in high-resolution distributed fiber sensing by removing the need to embed sensors in the fiber."

The OBR comes configured with an integrated internal tunable laser source, a computer, and a monitor. The company will be demonstrating its products at next week's OFC/NFOEC 2006 in Anaheim, CA.


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