To guarantee the best performance of our integrated photonics sensing solutions in your application environment, we offer a number of services and after sales support. As part of the Application Development & Support team, our dedicated field engineers provide you with world class installation services.
We support our customers also on-site around the world with application development support and repair service. Contact them via [email protected]
1 Systems & Sensors
1.1 Why choose our photonics sensing system over an electronic system?
Photonic sensors have several advantages over electronic systems: we can measure at high frequencies with high accuracy. Photonic sensors are small and can therefore be easily integrated with any setup. In contrast to electronic, a multitude of optical sensors can be attached to one wire. Photonic sensors are durable, with high resistance to hostile environments, and are insensitive to electromagnetic fields. The sensors do not contain metal parts and can be very resistant to ionizing radiation. Because of the small size, photonic sensors are very cost-effective, especially when produced in large numbers.
1.2 What are the minimum and maximum distances between FBGs on an FBG array?
Both depend on the attenuation of the specific fiber. The minimum distance typically has one grating length of spacing. The maximum distance is between 1 and 10 km depending on the quality of the fiber.
1.3 Is it possible to expand the number of sensors by using multiple PhotonFirst FBG interrogator units?
Yes, it is possible to expand the number of sensors. Depending on the connected PC, multiple interrogator units can be connected & logged simultaneously.
1.4 Can a PhotonFirst FBG interrogator function as a standalone data logger?
PhotonFirst provides one special interrogator which functions as a standalone data logger. For more information, please look at our X-GTR.
1.5 What is the maximum sample range of a PhotonFirst FBG interrogator?
The standard PhotonFirst GTR has a maximum dynamic range of 65 nm. This allows temperature and strain measurements far beyond the physical limits of optical fibers. The sampling accuracy in ideal conditions is 1 pm ± 0.3 pm.
1.6 How do I compensate for the thermal effect on the strain measuring FBG?
Generally, the temperature is measured using a secondary FBG, from which the data from which is used to compensate for the strain sensor readout.
1.7 Can you put different sensor types on the same fiber?
Yes, PhotonFirst interrogators can read and analyze different FBG sensors simultaneously.
1.8 What fiber type is used in PhotonFirst systems?
The PhotonFirst systems normally use Single Mode fibers. The system is compatible with different types of Single-Mode fibers including doped and/or core sizes.
1.9 What are FBG Sensors and how does Fiber Optic Sensing work?
Fiber Bragg Grating sensors are inscribed into optical fibers to alter light of a certain wavelength. These alterations are reflected into the interrogator, allowing extremely small variations in the shape of the FBG to be measured with high accuracy and frequency. When these variations attribute to a change in temperature, strain, pressure, etc., a fiber optic sensor can be defined.
1.10 How reliable are FBG sensors?
FBG sensors are suitable for use in extreme environments, a variety of coatings are available for different situations. Fiber sensors have no metallic parts and are insensitive to electromagnetic fields. Therefore, FBG sensors can also be robust to ionizing radiation. Under average circumstances, our fibers have an average lifespan of 25 years and thus are highly reliable.
1.11 What is the maximum number of sensors per channel and what are the corresponding wavelengths?
The basic interrogator has one channel where one single-mode fiber array with a maximum of 8 FBG sensors can be installed. The PhotonFirst switched interrogators are equipped with 8 optical channels that are read sequentially with an optical switch allowing for 64 FBG’s. PhotonFirst can further multiply this by using a technique called multiplexing which involves multiple light sources in the interrogator up to a limit of about 4000 FBG’s per interrogator.
2 Sales & Support
2.1 Does PhotonFirst offer a fiber/sensor installation protocol?
The fiber/sensor installation protocol can be found in the PhotonFirst user manual, as well as the cleaning protocol. Our engineers will also provide custom advice & training for your unique application system.
2.2 What is the warranty period for PhotonFirst interrogators?
As described in our terms & conditions, the warranty period for our interrogators is 12 months when the product is handled in the right way. Our team is always available to help you care for your system.
2.3 What are the delivery times of the systems?
The delivery times of your system will take up to two weeks after we received the order.
2.4 Does PhotonFirst offer after sales support?
The PhotonFirst engineering team is dedicated to helping you with the complete installation process. After installing your customized measurement system, we provide you with training for system operation, for extremely accurate measurements.
3.1 What are the data protocols and data communication options offered by the systems?
Our standard GTR and SGTR use USB for data transfer. The XGTR can TCP/UDP in a PhotonFirst protocol as described in the user manual or an iNet-X placed packet format.
Our customers can choose to read out the raw data from the USB connection or use the GOS for automatic analysis. We are also able to customize this part of the system on request as all software is developed in-house, more info can be found in the manual.
3.2 What is the format of the log file produced by PhotonFirst? Does PhotonFirst provide an open API?
The format of the log file standard is .csv UTF-8. Part of the API is open for customers' data processing systems.
3.3 Is there an option for data synchronization? Is there an option to convert a timestamp?
Some of the PhotonFirst interrogators have a data synchronization function. Timestamp features are described in the manual and can be freely edited.
3.4 Is data averaging done on the instrument itself?
Data averaging is not done on a standard interrogator, but our product allows onboard data processing.
3.5 What is the data rate per minute at maximum sample speed?
The maximum data rate with GTR protocol is: 6.6 Mbit/sec.
3.6 Is there an option for real-time data streaming (live measurement data) with FBG sensors?
Our sensors are highly suitable for real-time measurements and data streaming because of the high sampling frequency.
3.7 What software is supplied with an FBG interrogator?
PhotonFirst interrogators are supplied with dedicated Gator Operating Software (GOS), which allows control, analysis, real-time monitoring, and data logging of all sensor arrays.