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Chementator: Optical fiber sensing gets an NSF boost

By Gerald Ondrey |

Last January, Chiral Photonics, Inc. (Pine Brook, N.J.; www.chiralphotonics.com) was awarded $500,000 in a Small Business Technology Transfer Phase II grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF; Washington, D.C.). The grant will be used to develop a new optical-fiber-sensor platform capable of measuring temperature, pressure, strain axial twist, liquid levels and other variables. The company has already started commercializing a temperature sensor — based on the patented chiral grating technology — that is capable of measuring temperatures up to 1,000°C with ±1% accuracy, says business development manager Saul Felman. Since then, the device has found applications in petroleum refining (fractional distillation processing and combustion), oil borehole monitoring, industrial furnaces (such as smelters) and concentrated solar power. Sensor gratings are fabricated by twisting a glass fiber into a helix as it is passed through a microheating zone. The resulting optical fiber, tradenamed Helica, has unique optical properties. For example, characteristic dips in the grating’s optical transmission spectrum shift to the red by about 1.3 nm as the temperature increases by 100°C — the property that is…
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