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National Instruments to Introduce Optical Sensor Interrogator

National Instruments ushered in the NI PXIe-4844 optical sensor interrogator, a new PXI express module to be used in fiber Bragg grating (FBG) sensors. The FBG sensor’s function is to reflect a wavelength of light synchronizing the changes in physical attributes such as temperature and strain.

These sensors in comparison to the regular models are electrically inert, nonconductive and impervious to electromagnetic interference, thus becoming a steadfast and a secure option, especially in settings which are noisy, or experience extreme weather conditions, or get corroded. Copper wires are replaced by optical fibers as a medium of transmission, allowing long distance measurements (up to 10 km). FGB sensors can be used for measuring attributes, such as strain etc by interlinking a series of sensors all along one optical fiber and to diminish the weight, size and the complications of equipments used for measurement to a great extent.

The NI PXIe-4844 optical sensor interrogator is the most recent entrant in the NI SC Express group of sensors for the PXI Express. It consists of four optical channels or conduits that are scanned at 10 Hz simultaneously. Every single channel can scan 20 plus FBG sensors, with a wavelength of 80nm, contingent on the range of the sensor. For applications pertaining to high-channel count, scientists and engineers can increase the highest limit of FBG sensors for each module, by linking many optical channels, or just one channel with a multiplexer system, or by piling extra NI PXIe-4844 modules, such as SC Express into the same PXI chassis.

This new interrogator also has an optical nucleus, which is a blend of Micron Optics’ low-noise laser with fiber Fabry-Perot tunable filter. It does not need external calibration often, as every scan is regulated to a NIST-traceable wavelength reference system. It provides a 1 pm stability, repeatability and accuracy in wavelength. The interrogator can be programmed with user-friendly configuration and driver software, to reduce configuration and setup time. Easy sensor configuration and automatic sensor identification is done with the help of NI-OSI Explorer utility, while the NI-OSI driver software or code, along with the easy LabVIEW API is used for obtaining dimensions in weighted physical units. The NILabVIEW helps the engineers to observe, register or record, and evaluate the data obtained from the sensor. It could also help in harmonizing with other types of sensors, or control systems, or devices that utilize graphical representations, and cables that look like a flowchart, while at the same time integrating with many of the hardware products, and furnish countless in-built annals for data visualization and advanced analysis. The interrogator could be used for civionics, i.e. for measurements taken over great distances for bridges, tunnels, dams and other civil buildings; in the energy sector to monitor pipelines, wind turbine blades, nuclear reactors, power generators, and offshore platforms; and also in the transportation industry for analyzing and monitoring trains, ships and components in airplanes.


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