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Fiber Optic Sensing Systems


Low-Cost Embedded Asset Monitoring

Many critical fielded assets are in need of embedded sensing systems for direct high-resolution, real-time monitoring of their health and condition. The challenge is that many such assets are in space-constrained harsh environments. The reliability requirements, weight and cost constraints for such systems to be field deployable at scale are very demanding. Fiber optic sensors offer a promising solution in this regard, however, currently their widespread adoption for fielded asset monitoring is limited by the high cost, resolution, channel count, and size of the optical readouts and processing systems to interpret their signals.

PARC has developed breakthrough low-cost, compact sensing systems and customized algorithms for high-resolution monitoring of 100s to 1000s of multiplexed fiber optic sensors embedded in harsh environment fielded systems. The technology has been demonstrated in demanding energy and infrastructure systems in collaboration with industry leaders. This video explains how PARC led this technology’s application for electric vehicle battery systems under the ARPA-E AMPED program, in a collaboration with LG Chem and General Motors.


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1. SENSOR project image: illustrating (readout, fiber sensors, system and algorithms)


  • Transformers and grid assets (Example: Department of Energy OE project with GE Grid Solutions and Con Edison)
  • Bridges and civil infrastructure
  • Rail and transportation systems
  • Manufacturing

How the Technology Works

Multiplexed fiber optic sensors embedded within the systems measure parameters indicative of asset state online, such as strain, temperature, vibrations/acoustic emission, and gas evolution. These are monitored by PARC’s low-cost, compact wavelength-shift detection technology, which is significantly smaller and less expensive than today’s commercially available optical read-out units, while retaining excellent sensitivity (<50 fm, equivalent to 5 mK of temperature resolution) and being able to scale up to 1000s of multiplexed sensors or monitor at frequencies up to 1 MHz. Watch this short demo video explaining PARC’s high-resolution, multiplexed fiber-optic sensing readout.

Combining this with PARC’s condition-based maintenance technologies, the result is unprecedented accuracy in asset monitoring. This enables effective real-time performance management, optimized asset design, and improved safety.

You can read more about this technology by downloading the information sheet.


Additional information

Focus Areas

Our work is centered around a series of Focus Areas that we believe are the future of science and technology.

Commercialization Opportunities

We’re continually developing new technologies, many of which are available for Commercialization.


PARC scientists and staffers are active members and contributors to the science and technology communities.


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