Fiber optics slip rings

Fiber optics is a system that is used for the transmission of light signals by the use of flexible fibers of glass. This system is primarily used for telecommunication purposes. Fiber optics slip ring is made up of optical fibers. The optical fiber is a flexible glass fiber that is only of the size of the human hair but offers higher functionalities in the field of telecommunication.

Slip rings are a part of an electromechanical system that connects the static part of the system with the rotational interface thus offering a connection for the undisturbed transfer of signal or the electric charge. This type of slip ring does the same job in the optical system as the electrical slip rings do in an electrical system that is of transmission of the signal. But here the signal is in the form of light instead of electrical signal.

This type of slip ring transfer signal to a rotating part of a system. These types of slip rings are also known as rotary joints (FORJs) of the fiber optic. These slip rings to transfer a large amount of data due to the use of fiber optics and can transfer signals in no time. These are used to transfer data to rotatory interfaces. This slip ring can support channels in all directions due to their rotation in all 360° angels.

These slip rings have vast applications, especially beneficial for the situation where the continuous and undisturbed flow of signal is required from the static side of the system to the rotating side of the system. This type of slip rings can transfer massive data at a time. The use of these slip rings can improve the mechanical performance of a system. It simplifies the system of operation. These slip rings can also be used in combination with electrical slip rings. This combination provides the benefit of transferring power or electric charge and the optical data at the same time.

Fiber optic slip rings are available in two options:

• Single channel

• Multi-channel
Both channel designs offer benefits but the most efficient in cost and size, are single and dual channel slip rings. The diameter of these slip rings is very small that is only 9nm. Multiplexing solutions are designed to get dual channel slip rings. If multi-channel slip ring is needed then single channel modules are placed in a stacked form to achieve this type of rings.

Multi-channel rings are very different from the single channel slip rings. These slip rings mainly transmit in two way or four-way connections.

Single channel can be decided into two modes:

• Single mode

• Multiple Modes

Single mode fibers of these slip rings allow the movement of single mode optical energy because they have the core of small size. Their numerical aperture is also small. Due to the small core size and the numerical aperture single-mode flat slip ring exhibit very high wavelength bandwidths. Due to this smaller size, these slip rings are designed in a more precise manner. Highest wavelength these slip rings can encounter with is 1650nm.

On the other hand, multi-mode fibers have a larger core and their numerical aperture is also large. Due to these features, optical energies of multiple modes can propagate easily through it. Light signals can be transmitted from sources of large optical energy like LED (light emitting diode). But the result of these mode slip rings comes in the form of the dispersed light. This dispersion can cause the application of this mode to be restricted.

This type of slip rings have multiple features like these slip rings can transfer data in single or multi-channel, due to the smaller size 9nm (nanometer) of the optical fiber used allows the data transmission even in very small systems, these allows the use of fiber connectors, can be used in combined form with electrical slip rings. The most important feature of these slip rings is of signal transmission without any direct connection that is these slip rings transfer data without touching the surface.

This feature allows work without any friction and due to no friction; the lifetime of these slip rings is very long. This type of slip rings is safe and reliable to use because of the long distance signal transmission. These can bear harsh environments having compact sizes to fit in every circumstance. There are a lot number of configuration sizes.

This type of ring can be used with channels from 1-10. The wavelength on which these slip rings can work starts from 850nm and can work on 1550nm, but the higher wavelengths can be customizable. Fiber length should be 1000mm. These slip rings can support up to 8 channels while rotating at 360° angles. This type of slip ring can be connected with 1-200 circuit signals rotating at a very high speed without the production of any noise. This type of slip ring can transfer massive Amount of data up to 100Gbps (gaga byte per second).

These slip rings have a wide range of applications in different fields

  • Medical equipment
  • Radar
  • Microwave communication
  • Scanning

Despite its benefits, these slip rings have some disadvantages too. Design of these slip rings is not much difficult but the difficulty is in the accuracy if machining. The temperature on which the processing takes place influence on the material is used in the processing. To avoid these problems highly approved and finally tuned equipment are required during its manufacturing to minimize the insertion loss.

This type of slip rings are widely used but the complex design makes it difficult to manufacture. Due to these complexities of the structure multi-channels, lip rings are very expensive and many industries are not able to use these slip rings.

Fiber optics slip rings and their functionality
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