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Patent Application Titled "Fiber Optic Acoustic Sensor Arrays, Fiber Optic Sensing Systems and Methods of Forming and Operating the Same" Published...

September 11, 2014



Patent Application Titled "Fiber Optic Acoustic Sensor Arrays, Fiber Optic Sensing Systems and Methods of Forming and Operating the Same" Published Online

By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Politics & Government Week -- According to news reporting originating from Washington, D.C., by VerticalNews journalists, a patent application by the inventors Goldner, Eric Lee (Valencia, CA); DeMetz, Frederick C. (Rancho Cucamonga, CA), filed on February 19, 2014, was made available online on August 28, 2014.

The assignee for this patent application is US Seismic Systems, Inc.

Reporters obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "It is sometimes desirable to detect the presence of swimmers or watercraft. For example, it may be desirable to detect swimmers using Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus (SCUBA) or Closed Circuit Rebreathers (CCRs), where the swimmers might be intent on attacking an installation, or intruding upon the land nearby the relevant body of water. Existing swimmer detection systems generally utilize active sonar systems. However, such sonar systems typically suffer from a number of drawbacks (e.g., such systems may be easily discovered and defeated, such systems may cause harm to marine mammals, etc.).

"Fiber optic sensing systems are utilized in various applications such as, for example, seismic sensing. However, certain conventional fiber optic sensing systems suffer from deficiencies such as a lack of sensitivity in sensing certain conditions.

"Thus, it would be desirable to provide improved fiber optic sensing systems which may be useful in swimmer detection, watercraft detection, as well as other applications."

In addition to obtaining background information on this patent application, VerticalNews editors also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "To meet this and other needs, and according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, a fiber optic acoustic sensing array is provided. The fiber optic acoustic sensing array includes a core strength member and an optical fiber wound on the core strength member to create an extended, dynamic pressure sensor. The optical fiber includes a plurality of Fiber Bragg Gratings. The optical fiber is coated with a voided (gas-included) plastic coating. An outer jacket covers the optical fiber coated with the voided plastic coating (e.g., to protect it from abrasion and other damage mechanisms).

"The voided plastic coating may be extruded onto the optical fiber. In one example, a plastic material (e.g., polyurethane) may be mixed with a foaming agent. As the foaming agent is heated, gas bubbles (e.g., air bubbles) are formed to define holes/voids in the plastic material. As the optical fiber is moved through the plastic material (e.g., a matrix of the plastic material defining holes/voids) a coating of the plastic material is applied to the optical fiber.

"According to another exemplary embodiment of the present invention, a fiber optic sensing system is provided. The fiber optic sensing system includes an optical source, a lead cable for receiving optical signals from the optical source, and a fiber optic acoustic sensing array for receiving optical signals from the lead cable. The fiber optic acoustic sensing array includes (a) a core strength member; (b) an optical fiber, including a plurality of Fiber Bragg Gratings, wound on the core strength member, the optical fiber being coated with a voided plastic coating; and an outer jacket covering the optical fiber coated with the voided plastic coating. The fiber optic sensing system also includes an interrogator for receiving optical signals from the fiber optic acoustic sensing array, and for further signal processing.

"According to yet another exemplary embodiment of the present invention, a method of forming a fiber optic acoustic sensing array is provided. The method includes the steps of: (a) providing a core strength member; (b) writing a plurality of Fiber Bragg Gratings in an optical fiber; providing a voided plastic coating on the optical fiber; (d) winding the optical fiber, with the voided plastic coating, on the core strength member; and (e) covering the optical fiber, coated with the voided plastic coating, with an outer jacket.

"According to yet another exemplary embodiment of the present invention, a method of operating a fiber optic sensing system is provided. The method includes the steps of: (a) providing an optical signal using an optical source; (b) transmitting the optical signal from the optical source to a fiber optic acoustic sensing array, the fiber optic acoustic sensing array including (1) a core strength member and (2) an optical fiber having a plurality of Fiber Bragg Gratings and being both wound on the core strength member and coated with a voided plastic coating, and (3) an outer jacket covering the optical fiber coated with the voided plastic coating; and receiving and processing optical signals from the fiber optic acoustic sensing array with an interrogator. Additional details regarding operation of a fiber optic sensing system are provided, for example, with respect to FIG. 1B.

"It is to be understood that both the foregoing general description and the following detailed description are exemplary, but are not restrictive, of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

"The invention is best understood from the following detailed description when read in connection with the accompanying drawings. It is emphasized that, according to common practice, the various features of the drawings are not to scale. On the contrary, the dimensions of the various features are arbitrarily expanded or reduced for clarity. Included in the drawings are the following figures:

"FIG. 1A is a block diagram of a fiber optic sensing system in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

"FIG. 1B is a block diagram of another fiber optic sensing system in accordance with another exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

"FIG. 1C is a block diagram of a fiber optic acoustic sensing array in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

"FIG. 1D is a block diagram of another fiber optic acoustic sensing array in accordance with another exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

"FIG. 2A is a block diagram perspective view of a portion of a fiber optic acoustic sensing array in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

"FIG. 2B is a block diagram perspective view of a portion of another fiber optic acoustic sensing array in accordance with another exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

"FIG. 2C is a block diagram perspective view of a portion of another fiber optic acoustic sensing array in accordance with yet another exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

"FIGS. 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 3E, 3F, and 3G are a series of block diagram views illustrating a method of forming a fiber optic acoustic sensing array in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

"FIG. 4 is a block diagram perspective view of a portion of another fiber optic acoustic sensing array in accordance with yet another exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

"FIG. 5 is a block diagram illustration of a fiber optic sensing system for sensing information related to at least one of a watercraft and a person in a body of water in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

"FIG. 6 is a block diagram illustration of a fiber optic sensing system for sensing information related to vertical seismic profiling in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

"FIG. 7 is a block diagram illustration of a fiber optic sensing system for sensing information related to tunnel detection in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention; and

"FIG. 8 is a block diagram illustration of a fiber optic sensing system for sensing information related to at least one of a microseismic event and geothermal monitoring in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention."

For more information, see this patent application: Goldner, Eric Lee; DeMetz, Frederick C. Fiber Optic Acoustic Sensor Arrays, Fiber Optic Sensing Systems and Methods of Forming and Operating the Same. Filed February 19, 2014 and posted August 28, 2014. Patent URL: http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.html&r=6059&p=122&f=G&l=50&d=PG01&S1=20140821.PD.&OS=PD/20140821&RS=PD/20140821

Keywords for this news article include: US Seismic Systems, US Seismic Systems Inc.

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