Browse Prior Art Database

Fiber Optic Switch with Magnetic Self Alignment

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000044993D
Original Publication Date: 1983-Jan-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Feb-06
Document File: 3 page(s) / 47K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Balliet, L: AUTHOR [+4]

Abstract

A fiber optic bypass switch is constructed without using precision machined parts.

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Fiber Optic Switch with Magnetic Self Alignment

A fiber optic bypass switch is constructed without using precision machined parts.

Fiber optics requires switches of various types: single-pole/ single-throw, single-pole/ double-throw, double-pole/ single-throw, etc. An important computer interface application is for interconnecting processors or terminals in a loop configuration, Loop interconnections require a bypass mode which is generally accomplished in a wire cable system with a relay. When power is removed from the processor or terminal to be bypassed, the relay switches to the fail safe/bypass position and data are directed to the next terminal in the loop. The bypass could also be provided by an electronic switch, but such would require power to activate circuits. Other non-powered switching methods have been disclosed for fiber optics but these are not functionally or physically identical to that used in wire systems.

Present methods of building fiber optic bypass switches use a precisely machined reference channel to align the fibers. The methods described here eliminate precision mechanical parts and provide accurate alignment via magnetic forces.

Fig. 1 illustrates the fiber optic bypass switch. A block 1 fabricated from a non-magnetic material provides a precision reference surface 2 against which the fibers are forced when the switch is in the non-activated bypass mode. Fiber 3 is used only to provide the proper spacing from the reference surface for fibers 4 and 5. These three fibers are held in place by a retainer block 16, after which an adhesive substance can be employed to bond them to block 1 and surface 2. Fiber 4 is the input fiber through which optical data from the previous device in the loop enters the bypass switch. When the switch is unactivated (as shown in Fig. 1), fibers 6 and 7 are pressed against surface 2 by a steel spring 8 which is free to move in slot 9. In this configuration, data entering the switch through fiber 4 is coupled in to fiber 6 and on to the next station on the loop. Glass fibers 7 and 4 are specially prepared by having a very thin la...