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Browse Prior Art Database

Bistable Detent Mechanism For Fiber Optic Switches

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000048470D
Original Publication Date: 1982-Feb-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Feb-08
Document File: 2 page(s) / 60K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Johnson, M: AUTHOR

Abstract

A fiber-optic switch is described in which a fiber is carried by a curved foil the foil having two stable positions.

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Bistable Detent Mechanism For Fiber Optic Switches

A fiber-optic switch is described in which a fiber is carried by a curved foil the foil having two stable positions.

In reconfigurable fiber-optic communication systems the need exists for miniaturized switches, of two or more positions, which require no power in any of their stable states. Such a detent mechanism is here described which is compatible in size and construction with fiber-optic switches. Bistable fiber-optic switches thus may be constructed which require power only to change state. A variety of drive mechanisms may operate the switch, and alignment is largely insensitive to ambient temperature fluctuations.

The structure (Fig. 1) consists of a thin foil 10 bent into a smooth curve and fixed rigidly at each end to a support frame 12. Application of a force to the foil, not necessarily at its center, but perhaps at a point about one-third of the way from one end, will flex the foil to its alternative state (dotted line, Fig. 3). An optical fiber 14 is fixed to the foil center and is switched thereby.

The flexure is a regenerative process, so that the driving mechanism need not be permanently affixed to the foil. A small Impulse will be sufficient to cause the foil to pull away from the force and move into its other stable state.

The balanced nature of the structure means that length variations in the foil, caused by temperature changes, cause no lateral offset of the fiber. Small vertical movements d...