I’ve written about why many applications must use FBG sensors, but how do users deal with the data? Conventional electronic gages deliver an analog signal that’s proportional to the strain or temperature change. Optical gages deliver a digital signal that reports an absolute wavelength value indicative of the strain, temperature, displacement, pressure, etc.
Converting from wavelength to engineering units requires some basic arithmetic. For example, the gage factor for an FBG strain sensor might be 1.2 picometers per microstrain (gage factors are provided by the strain gages manufacturers — just like electrical strain gages). So, for example, if the measured wavelength shift is 120 picometers, the strain sensor is actually measuring a change of 100 microstrain.
Some calibrated FBG temperature gages may use a third-order polynomial fit to fully characterize the gage factor, but still it’s just a matter of doing the arithmetic to make the conversions from wavelength to temperature.
Up to now, most users have been on their own to make these calculations. Micron Optics has always provided a basic LabVIEW example user interface that customers modify to convert, store and display sensor data. But now Micron Optics is providing a new tool called ENLIGHTPro.
ENLIGHTPro provides an all-in-one solution to configuring sensors connected to Micron Optics instruments, converting wavelengths to engineering units for hundreds or thousands of sensors, displaying data in charts, graphs or images, setting alarm limits and sending alerts, and saving data. A free download of ENLIGHTPro Beta release is available athttp://micronoptics.com/sensing_software.php
The release of ENLIGHTPro represents yet another milestone for making fiber optic sensing solutions more accessible and easy to use. Along with improved sensor packages, sensor installation kits, and simplified instrumentation choices, this software tool allows the user to quickly move beyond optical setup details to actually using and analyzing the data to get the answers that they need.