Fiberoptics Industry Report

Nov. 1, 2004
KVH Industries (Middletown, RI) says it has received three new engineering contracts valued at a total of more than $1 million from U.

KVH secures $1 million in defense contracts

KVH Industries (Middletown, RI) says it has received three new engineering contracts valued at a total of more than $1 million from U.S. defense customers. The largest of the three is a Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant for $730,000 to fund continued research into KVH’s ActiveFiber technology. In addition to the SBIR grant, the company also received two follow-on engineering contracts for enhancements to KVH’s existing TACNAV M100 GMENS military vehicle navigation system and the company’s fiberoptic gyro-based inertial measurement unit technology.

KVH’s proposed ActiveFiber technology uses the company’s patented D-shaped fiber and electro-optic polymers to create components inside the fiber itself, making the fiber an active element within an optical system. KVH TACNAV navigation systems have been used most recently during ongoing U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Verrillon introduces hermetic fibers for oil and gas applications

Verrillon (North Grafton, MA), a maker of specialty optical fibers and components, has introduced a new family of optical fibers for harsh-­environment applications such as oil, gas, and geothermal exploration. The fiber family includes both single-mode and multimode fibers coated with a wide variety of hermetic and high-temperature coatings.

The fibers are intended for use in the petroleum industry for real-time downhole temperature and pressure measurements, data transmission, and imaging applications.

The company’s fiber coatings include polyimide, silicone, and carbon. Of particular interest is the carbon coating (usually used in combination with another coating such as polyimide). The thin layer of carbon retards permeation of molecular hydrogen into glass (a prime path to degradation in high-pressure underground environments), lengthening the permeation time constant from mere days to a period of tens of years or more.

“For the first time, optical fiber has proven to be a viable technology for permanent gauge, well logging, and steam-assisted gravity-drainage deployments,” said Dana DuToit, Verrillon’s director of global sales.

StockerYale partners with Mitsubishi

StockerYale (Salem, NH) signed a mutual distributorship and product development agreement for specialty optical fiber (SOF) with Mitsubishi Cable Industries of Japan. Under terms of the agreement, Mitsubishi will distribute select StockerYale SOF products into the Japanese market. The specialty optical fiber will be used across a spectrum of applications including telecommunications, sensors, and laser delivery systems and will be marketed under the Mitsubishi brand name. In addition, StockerYale will develop specific SOF products for Mitsubishi for eventual distribution in Japan. Concurrently, StockerYale will distribute select Mitsubishi specialty optical fiber under the StockerYale brand name into U.S. markets.

Honeywell and SiOptical target next-generation networks

Honeywell International (Morristown, NJ) and SiOptical (Allentown, PA) are partnering on the development of MEMS-based components for next-generation communication networks for military and commercial use. The companies will work together to produce two technologies for faster, better performing communications networks by 2006. Honeywell will provide its expertise in silicon-on-insulator and optical MEMS technologies, while SiOptical will share its intellectual property and engineering design capabilities. The companies estimate they will offer a tool for improving high-speed servers in communications networks by the end of 2005, and will have a platform for optoelectronic processing and communications networking in 2006.

Also in the news . . .

The U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology, through its Advanced Technology Program, will provide up to $2 million to OFS Laboratories (Murray Hill, NJ) to support the development of new processes for manufacturing high-power fiber lasers in their state-of-the-art laboratories and manufacturing facilities in Murray Hill and Somerset, NJ. . . . Prime Research (Blacksburg, VA) was selected by the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC; Philadelphia, PA) to receive $2 million for a program to develop and manufacture fiberoptic sensors for the U.S. Navy. The goal of the program is to develop high-temperature photonic sensor instrumentation to support the Navy’s Condition Based Maintenance program for marine power gas turbine engines in order to increase the efficiency, reliability, and performance of turbine-powered surface ships.

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