Smart News | March 2014. Test reveals unique high-performance of SmartScope

Recent qualification tests on the SmartScope Interrogator carried out by Smart Fibres engineers, have demonstrated exceptional high performance results compared to alternative interrogators in the FBG instrumentation market. The data from the test results have revealed SmartScope’s ability to measure at a high stability over its full operating temperature of -15 to +55 degrees Celsius. At the same time, SmartScope is able to offer an impressive 0.2 picometres measurement resolution at its nominal sample rate of 5 Hz or, by employing averaging, a staggering 30 femtometre measurement resolution at a reduced 0.1 Hz. This performance is maintained with up to 20 dB (i.e. 99%) of attenuation of the signals returned from the sensors due to long distance cabling or connector losses. Also, uniquely to SmartScope, performance is maintained over the full range of polarisation transmission conditions between the sensors and instrument, such that any birefringence originating at the sensor does not affect the instrument measurement performance. With instruments that do not offer this capability, expensive, relatively unreliable and power hungry active polarisation scramblers must be added to suppress the instrument’s polarisation sensitivity.

Who does this benefit?
For fibreoptic sensing applications where long-term accurate field measurement of slowly varying parameters is required, such as in downhole pressure and temperature sensing or strain sensing on civil engineering structures, it is imperative that the long-term accuracy of the FBG interrogator is maintained over the full operating temperatures that the interrogator will see in service.
Many customers also require very high resolution measurement in the short term to allow them to analyse small transient signal changes to the best of their ability. For many FBG interrogator products, these two requirements are incompatible. Based on these new qualification test results, the interrogator’s robust field service capabilities, and its low price point, SmartScope offers a best in class price performance ratio for quasi-static FBG field measurement.

Smart Fibres has a continuous development programme for SmartScope that will deliver, as has been delivered already for the sister instrument SmartScan, 8, 12 and 16 channel field instrument variants, variants to give 80 nm operating bandwidth, and a single board SmartScope variant for OEM integration. As part of this ongoing development, Smart Fibres anticipate announcing further improvements in measurement performance.

The SmartScope datasheet and more information about the results can be seen here