VAN NUYS, CA /GLOBE NEWSWIRE/ -- Optiphase Inc. announced that it has been selected to participate in a National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Technology Innovation Program (TIP) to develop advanced sensing technologies that enable timely and detailed monitoring and inspection of the structural health of bridges, roadways, and water systems that comprise a significant portion of the nation's public infrastructure.
The project involves the development of an innovative fiber optic monitoring system for large public structures, such as bridges, waterways, or pipelines that substitutes a single optical fiber sensing cable for hundreds of discrete, local strain or fracture sensors. Optiphase's blueprint calls for the use of distributed sensors (the entire fiber length is the sensor) and low-cost standardized fiber optic assemblies. The approach leverages naturally occurring scattering light phenomenon in fiber optic cable, coupled with the highest possible resolution method available (interferometric), to yield the breakthrough required—concurrent dynamic and static, high-resolution measurements of large structures. This system could also scale to form an interstate civil structure grid, providing remote monitoring and highly precise real-time data analysis of structural conditions.
The system seeks to break the existing spatial and strain resolution barriers of today's sensors and offers both static and dynamic measurements in a cost-effective manner for large public works structures. This will enable agencies to instrument large structures for real-time, high-resolution monitoring of the public works infrastructure for detection of cracks, large deformations, dynamic overloads, and other critical structural conditions.
The $1.1 million NIST award to Optiphase is matched by company funds and covers a 3 year period. Optiphase partners Redfern Integrated Optics Inc. (RIO) of Santa Clara, CA, and the University of Illinois at Chicago Head of Civil Engineering, Dr. Farhad Ansari, were also awarded NIST funding to address the system challenge in a comprehensive manner. Total funding of $4 million for the project is provided to the partners from NIST via joint venture Distributed Sensor Technologies Inc.
Details of the NIST TIP announcement for the civil infrastructure award can be found on the agency's Web site.
Optiphase Inc. is a leading provider of interferometric fiber optic sensor solutions. Products include instruments, assemblies, and components, serving the scientific, technical, and commercial community. These include interrogators, OCT optical modules, demodulators, fiber stretchers, interferometers, and tunable converters. Optiphase also partners with system integrators (OEMs) supplying semi-custom systems for a variety of industry applications, such as oil and gas production, security, civil structure monitoring, and OCT medical devices.
Redfern Integrated Optics Inc. (RIO) develops and manufactures optical transmitters based on its proprietary planar external cavity laser technology, which delivers unique price-performance advantages in multiple markets. RIO's product lines include 1550 nm single-frequency narrow-line width lasers, with very low noise and long reach 2.5–10 Gbps directly modulated transmitters, with DWDM wavelength stability, at low cost, small size, and with low power dissipation.
University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) ranks among the nation's top 50 universities in federal research funding and is Chicago's largest university, with 25,000 students, 15 colleges, and the state's major public medical center. UIC's Department of Civil and Materials Engineering awards degrees through the PhD level, providing an interdisciplinary educational approach that prepares students for successful careers in business, government, and academia. The department's laboratory for smart sensors and nondestructive testing conducts research to develop advanced technologies, such as fiber optic sensors that monitor structural health.