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FiberGuide: Application for Fiber Guide Alignment

User interface fig.1 

Preferences fig.2

Modern world is based on information and technologies around it. Information can not exist by itself. It has a source and a recipient and generally it is only useful when it can be delivered to the recipient in a reliable and timely manner. The fastest and probably most reliable way to deliver the information is fiber guides. The data containing information is being transferred in a secure point-to-point way with the greatest speed possible – speed of light. No wonder that fiber guides play such an important role in telecommunications, multimedia, internet, and other information related fields.

Having said that fiber guides can transfer data in a fast and secure manner, we should understand that each fiber guide has a finite length. This means, that to increase reach distance, we need at some point to connect or, what is more precise, to align two fiber guides. The problem of alignment can not be underestimated because misaligned fiber guides will result in great attenuation of light hence low data transfer rate.

FiberGuide from XInstruments is a user friendly, simple to use application for alignment of fiber guides. It controls three motorized linear stages that hold one of the fiber guides and uses readings from the photodiode as a feedback. Alignment process is done in a number of iterative steps. The first step moves the linear stages to a number of positions, reads the signal from photodiode, and calculates the position where signal strength is at its highest. The second step moves around that position and determines if there is a better alignment. This process will continue until the best point is determined.

Although the description of alignment algorithm can be a little bit confusing, the process is done with the click of a single button. FiberGuide application will take care of everything else on its own. The user can also set the parameters of alignment, move stages to a specified location and monitor the signal from the photodiode in real time. The progress of the alignment process can be viewed on a special graph.

Overall, we can say that FiberGuide application from XInstruments makes the alignment of fiber guides possible in an easy and timely manner. It is also cost effective since it is compatible with off-the-shelf, inexpensive hardware. Our application can be used in telecommunications and multimedia fields. It can also be used in more specific areas like scientific research, spectroscopy and commercial enterprises - where low cost and reliability of operation are required.

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