Epsilon Optics has just launched a new ultra-compact fibre-optic sensor interrogator with 8 channels and data acquisition rates of up to 10kHz.
Epsilon Optics says the interrogator as “probably one of the smallest multi-channel interregatos on the market,” claiming it can interrogate up to 800 sensors, each with a measurement range of 9000 microstrain.
Epsilon Optics supplies fibre optic sensing systems for measuring strain in all kinds of composite structures from yacht masts to tidal energy turbines and helicopter rotor blades. The new instrument has been developed primarily to satisfy an increasing number of applications in aerospace and defence markets for strain sensing in a wide range of composite, aluminium and hybrid structures including fixed and rotary wings, fuselage, and landing gear. However, Epsilon Optics explains, it is also likely to be appropriate for high performance yachts and other applications requiring high acquisition rates for large numbers of sensors and where size and weight must be minimised.
According to Epsilon Optics, the new high-speed 8 channel interrogator uses Moog Insensys Time Division Multiplexing (TDM) to enable up to 100 sensors to be multiplexed on a single optical fibre whilst every sensor retains the full measurement range of the instrument. The 8 optical channels are implemented by means of a high speed, solid-state optical switch to ensure a very high level of ruggedness and reliability. Consuming under 4W of power makes it suitable for battery operation and other low power applications. The unit represents a significant development of the very successful 3 channel high-speed interrogator which was tested to aerospace standard DO106E and also successfully operated whilst mounted on a helicopter rotor-head.
Epsilon Optics explains that fibre optic sensing is now firmly established as the most appropriate and reliable technology for monitoring strains, loads, and structural health of composite structures, effectively providing the structure with its own embedded nervous system.