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Browse Prior Art Database

Micromechanical Fiber Optic Switch

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000104068D
Original Publication Date: 1993-Mar-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Mar-18
Document File: 4 page(s) / 97K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Ruedinger, JJ: AUTHOR

Abstract

Current fiber optic switch proposals use a variety of techniques, some of which use holographs, adjustable mirrors or prisms, shutter devices, or switchable waveguides. These solutions can work theoretically since two light beams can pass through each other with no interference, but run into trouble when an actual machine is attempted because of several problems. The intent of this disclosure is to link a new technology, micromechanics, to the problem of fiber optic switching.

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This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 52% of the total text.

Micromechanical Fiber Optic Switch

      Current fiber optic switch proposals use a variety of
techniques, some of which use holographs, adjustable mirrors or
prisms, shutter devices, or switchable waveguides.  These solutions
can work theoretically since two light beams can pass through each
other with no interference, but run into trouble when an actual
machine is attempted because of several problems.  The intent of this
disclosure is to link a new technology, micromechanics, to the
problem of fiber optic switching.

The important features of a micromechanical motor are:

o   Fine grained control over the movement of the outside gear teeth
    can be controlled in degree of arc the teeth travel for a given
    motor step.

o   This control can be transferred to any point away from the
    stepper motor by using gears.

o   Torque can be adjusted to move any amount of mass on the
    receiving side of the gear box.

      Fig. 1 shows the adjustable micromechanical sending unit.  It
consists of an arc with gear teeth 6 on the inside of the arc rail
(teeth and gear on the outside are also valid placements).  An
optical fiber 5 is attached down the center of the arc and held in
place around two posts 3.  These posts 3 perform the function of
creating a pivot point 4 for the fiber 5 so it can be "aimed" by the
gear to point in direction relative to the center line in increments
of angle 2.  They also provide a bend radius so the optical fiber
transmission capability can be kept in tact throughout the maximum
arc angles that are possible.  Angle 1 shows the degree off center
for which the fiber 5 can be aimed and has a maximum value equal to
the maximum bend that the fiber 5 can have.  The sizes of the posts
3, the number of teeth 6 (therefore, size of angle 2), the length and
width of the device, etc. can all be adjusted to the number of
increments needed (minimum of 1 increment per receiving fiber) and to
the overall size of the device and pieces making it up.

      Fig. 2 shows how receiving fibers 1 can be arranged in a
semi-circular pattern around a row of sending units 2.  Angle 3 shows
the maximum cone of acceptance for each receiving fiber 1.  (If...