IFOS wins Best of Sensors 2020 Award for I*Sense distributed fiber-optic sensing interrogators

IFOS was named the winner of the most innovative product in the Data Acquisition & Analytics category of the Best of Sensors Awards 2020 for its I*Sense distributed fiber-optic sensing interrogators. Entries were judged and winners selected on the basis of value to the marketplace, uniqueness of the design, and the impact (i.e., the “bigness” of the problems solved or issues addressed).

Intelligent Fiber Optic Systems Corporation (IFOS) is a Silicon Valley-based pioneer of advanced photonic and optoelectronic sensing products and solutions using fiber optics for the measurement and analysis of physical, chemical, and biological parameters derived from the interaction of light with matter.

Pressures to 1 kBar, temperatures to 1000°C, angular rates, strains as small as sub-micro-strain and as large as 10,000 micro-strain, along with a number of other parameters, can be measured accurately at MHz sampling rates simultaneously across large numbers of sensors in the extreme environments of space, energy, and the human body.

IFOS serves a diverse range of markets, including energy, medical, and aerospace. In the case of energy, for example, IFOS products serve the needs of oil and gas clients with distributed temperature, pressure, and vibration sensing (DTS, PTS, DVS) in boreholes that are several kilometers deep; also, for measuring angular positions of drill heads in directional drilling and measurement while drilling. IFOS also serves wind energy clients requiring the measurement of static and dynamic strain as well as temperature in turbine blades, gearboxes, and transformers.

Advances in image-assisted surgery and oncology have made possible minimally intrusive biopsies and treatments requiring instrumented needles that are compatible with MRI, CT, and ultrasound. IFOS has developed console instrumentation and the means of sensorizing medical implements so that they can be actively sensed and steered while providing real-time haptic feedback of tip force as well as full shape and position information resulting in excellent patient outcomes and clinical economics.

IFOS also has a track record of pioneering and developing optical sensing system products for use in the harsh environment of aerospace and marine environments. For example, products developed for NASA, Office of Naval Research (ONR) and their major prime contractors reduce size, weight, power, and costs for condition-based structural health and usage monitoring (CBM, SHM, HUM,PHM) via the measurement of static and dynamic strain, temperature, angular rate, and other critical parameters for control, diagnostics, and prognostics of critical assets in extreme environments.

The company’s I*Sense product family is an integrated and scalable temperature and strain sensing system consisting of multiplexed Fiber Bragg Grating (FBG) sensors on an optical fiber and an ultra-fast interrogator unit with advanced all-optical processing, electronics, algorithmic software, and data analytics layers from 5 kS/s to 1.3 MS/s and beyond for distributed photonic sensing in structural health monitoring, NDE, acoustic emission, and other advanced multi-sensor sensing applications.

The IFOS family of interrogators provide simultaneous data display and storage for different sensing elements on a single optical fiber that enables a mix of real-time measurements. (Image source: IFOS)

“More and more products require a stream of data from multiple sensors, and the IFOS I*Sense interrogators are designed for real-time, high-precision measurement of a wide variety of parameters, as well as derived measurements. The exciting aspect is that measurements can be performed simultaneously across many sensors distributed over long distances or across large sensing coverage areas in demanding and sometimes extreme environments. Potential uses include the important area of renewable, in applications such as the health and usage monitoring of wind turbine blades,” said Judge Karen Field, Content Director for FierceElectronics.

For full list of finalists in the Best of Sensors 2020 Awards: