It’s common to isolate communications between systems or devices by using fiber optic cables, said Steve Sanderson of Sandia’s mobility analysis and technical assessment division. But when power also is required, sending it down a copper wire can at times be a safety issue, and substituting it with battery power may not be suitable or practical, he said.
Sanderson, Titus Appel and Walter Wrye, a former Sandia intern, are co-inventors of a hybrid cable design that uses fiber to send and regulate optical power to the communications electronics integral to the cable. A patent is pending on the design.
The developers envision their cable replacing existing copper cables in applications related to safety, such as security, explosives, explosion-proof devices, aviation and medical devices.
“The PoF cable has power limitations,” Sanderson said. “It’s not to be construed as a means to power your house, for example, or handle the high speeds of a computer network.
“But because there are growing needs of low-power sensor/control applications related to safety, having convenient optically generated power available is a tremendous benefit.”
The PoF cable ends resemble a typical copper electrical cable with pin and socket connectors. However, optical interface circuits integrated into the connector housing, called a backshell, provide fiber optic transmission of both data communications and optical power.
To conserve energy, optical power is delivered only on demand, Sanderson said.
“The key issue here is to maintain total electrical isolation from any stray electrical energy and high-voltage electrical surges caused by such things as lightning strikes,” he said.
The first-generation PoF cable just delivers optical power to the cable’s internal electronics for data communication between devices. The researchers now are adding the capability to deliver electrical power externally to a connected low-power device, Sanderson said.
In the cable’s current version, the backshell encapsulates circular stacked circuit boards with LEDs coupled to plastic optical fibers for communications, and a laser diode and miniaturized photovoltaic-type cell coupled to the ends of a single glass fiber to deliver optical power.
In the next version, the team plans to use only glass fibers. “Although plastic fiber requires less preparation time than glass, it takes up more room,” Sanderson said.
The team recently tested a PoF low-energy detonator firing cable with fireset electronics built into the backshell. The optically powered fireset embeds a microcontroller that reports such things as detonator resistance, temperature and charging voltages, and receives command messages to fire the detonator. When it’s idle or powered down, the circuitry is designed to short the detonator input leads to prevent unwanted electrical energy from reaching it.
The researchers are working with next-generation microcontrollers, new packaging layouts and new optical devices to reduce the size. Team members also are developing a rugged, production-ready PoF cable and are working to reduce the backshell’s length, decrease the weight and lower costs.
“One of our ongoing objectives is to reduce the physical size so that it’s more widely used,” said Sanderson.
Sandia National Laboratories is a multiprogram laboratory operated and managed by Sandia Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corporation, for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. With main facilities in Albuquerque, N.M., and Livermore, Calif., Sandia has major R&D responsibilities in national security, energy and environmental technologies, and economic competitiveness.
Sandia news media contact: Sue Holmes, firstname.lastname@example.org, (505) 844-6362
Sue Holmes | Newswise Science News
Perovskite-silicon solar cell research collaboration hits 25.2% efficiency
15.06.2018 | Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie GmbH
Second heat source optimises heat pump system
12.06.2018 | FIZ Karlsruhe – Leibniz-Institut für Informationsinfrastruktur GmbH
Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.
Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...
The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.
Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.
An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.
Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...
Light detection and control lies at the heart of many modern device applications, such as smartphone cameras. Using graphene as a light-sensitive material for...
Water molecules exist in two different forms with almost identical physical properties. For the first time, researchers have succeeded in separating the two forms to show that they can exhibit different chemical reactivities. These results were reported by researchers from the University of Basel and their colleagues in Hamburg in the scientific journal Nature Communications.
From a chemical perspective, water is a molecule in which a single oxygen atom is linked to two hydrogen atoms. It is less well known that water exists in two...
13.06.2018 | Event News
08.06.2018 | Event News
05.06.2018 | Event News
18.06.2018 | Earth Sciences
18.06.2018 | Process Engineering
18.06.2018 | Life Sciences