Optical router for optical fiber sensor networks based on a liquid crystal cell
Sánchez Pena, José Manuel
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Optical fiber sensor networks are evolving rapidly. They are used because of the inert nature of optical fibers allowing no electromagnetic interference and safe applications in inflammable atmospheres; other relevant characteristics are their low weights and wide bandwidths as a transmission medium. In any case, it is very interesting to have specific components such as optical routers for selecting a certain path in a network with no optical to electrical and electrical to optical conversions. In this paper, we propose an all-optical router based on liquid crystals, polarizers, and a spatial split polarization beam splitter. The implemented device is designed to operate with visible light and it has been tested with plastic optical fibers. It has a crosstalk of 14 dB between selected ON channels and nonoperative OFF channels and 11-dB insertion losses. An average switch time of 100 ms is measured. The device checks the optical power level in each channel and, in case of failure, automatically switches to an operative channel while an alarm is activated.
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