IEEE Photonics Society

Boston Photonics Society Chapter

Boston Chapter of the IEEE Photonics Society


January 19, 2017
5:45 PM

MIT Lincoln Laboratory Forbes Road

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Photons over Electrons: Optical Fiber Sensors For Measuring Small Signals In Harsh Environments (Dinner by Reservation Only)

Dr. Caleb Christensen, MagiQ Technologies, Somerville, MA

Co-sponsored by the New England Section of OSA


Abstract:  Optical fibers can be used to create high performance sensors because of several advantages that optical systems can provide over electronics.  For example, the precision of optical interferometry in measuring sub-nanometer displacements allows for measurements of very small physical changes, while immunity to electromagnetic interference and very low signal attenuation allows for high fidelity transmission of analog signals over long distances in challenging environments.  MagiQ Technologies develops different types of optical sensors; in this talk, I will focus on a highly rugged, remotely interrogated seismic sensor.  Such a device can provide accurate knowledge of geophysical processes in harsh environments where electronic sensors quickly fail or require frequent maintenance, such as oil and gas reservoirs or geothermal power systems.  In addition, large numbers of sensors can be connected via fiber optic cables in very long arrays without active elements, where a conventional electronic approach requires costly amplifiers, digitizers, and data handling hardware distributed throughout the array.  Although general operating principles and potential sensor performance are relatively well established, there are many challenges to design and produce a sensor system in a cost-effective, reliable, and scalable way.


Biography:  Dr. Caleb Christensen, chief scientist at MagiQ Technologies, specializes in optical systems and signal processing.  He received his B.S. in physics from Iowa State University, and received his Ph.D in experimental physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology studying optical and atomic interactions in ultracold gases.   He has been at MagiQ since 2011, where he has performed research and engineering on multiple projects related to optical sensing, and searches for new applications of precision optical systems in defense, security and industry.


Location:  MIT Lincoln Laboratory Forbes Road