Incubation Centre RRCAT extends utilization of FBG inscription facility to Indian industries

To create opportunities for incubation of DAE technologies and to promote technology transfer, leading to a developed product/ viable commercial product, Incubation Centre RRCAT (IC-RRCAT) is taking various initiatives. Recently, IC-RRCAT started the incubation services for various application development encouraging industries and academia to take the technology to broader public domain. The utilization of the Fiber Bragg Grating (FBG) inscription facility is one among the various services being offered by IC-RRCAT.  


Fiber Bragg grating facility developed at RRCAT

For the above, an indigenous copper vapor laser system-based fiber Bragg grating (FBG) inscription facility developed at Fiber sensor and optical spectroscopy section, (FSOSS), RRCAT is being used. As shown in figure, this system comprises of indigenously developed copper vapor laser, its second harmonic and FBG inscription set-up. Such a facility is developed for the first time in India and has been operating successfully for last 4-5 years. Over the years, FBG fabricated on this facility have been successfully tested for various applications, like -temperature sensing, strain sensing, etc. In recent times, Indian industries are importing these FBGs to cater many novel applications.

Hence, Indian industrial partners, MSME and start-ups were invited by IC-RRCAT to come up with well-defined and commercially viable proposals for developing FBG sensors and systems by utilizing the FBG inscription facility at RRCAT, Indore.  Many industries showed confidence on this indigenous technology and expressed their interest in utilizing the facility for various sensing applications including temperature, vibration, strain, chemical, etc. The unique salient proportions of fabricating the FBG sensors using RRCAT facility are: specialized custom-built sensors, independency from foreign source, and cost-effective solution.

During last few months, the demand for 100 customized FBGs was received from M/s Lab to Market Innovations Private Limited (L2M), Bengaluru for a project pertaining to advanced safety systems of Indian railways. The required specifications of the FBGs were grating length 5 mm, reflectivity more than 80%, FWHM between 0.4 to 0.6 nm, Bragg wavelength 1534 nm, 1537 nm, 1540 nm, 1543 nm, 1546 nm, 1549 nm, 1554 nm and 1559 nm.  These sensors are being used by L2M for appropriate Wheel Impact Load Detection (WILD) system, which are attached to the railway track to measure strain caused by the movement of wheels over the sensor zone. The information gathered from these sensors is being used to build systems for estimated load on the axle, axle count and quality of wheel.

Utilization of RRCAT fabricated FBG is an ongoing process and the demands received from ISRO and IITs/NITs are under processing for sensor development and validation.