System and method of distributed continuous characterization of an optical fiber media.

Summary of the technology

A Spanish research group from the Department of Electronics of Alcalá University has developed a system and a sensing method which allows the fully distributed characterization of optical fiber media with an arbitrary branching of ramifications using wavelength multiplexing techniques to interrogate and identify the different branches of such optical fiber media.
The group is looking for companies in the technology and telecommunications sectors to reach licensing agreements, collaboration, and commercial agreements with technical assistance.

New and innovative aspects

The system and the method of the present invention allow the characterization of optic fiber medias with an arbitrary topology branches without using measurement equipment in each ramification.

- The characterization is fulfilling distributed, since it provides decisive in length, continuous and not sampled measures.

- Easily scalable to a large number of branches as segments of big length optic fiber and to any sensing technique and distributed metrology.

- Achieves maximum sensing lengths similar to those when it is used in a single fiber segment.

Main advantages of its use

The competitive advantages of this invention are as follows:

 - Application in complex networks with arbitrary branches without adding measuring equipment in each of the branches.

- Characterization fully distributed, providing decisive measures in length, continuous, and not sampled.

- Adaptation to any fiber optic topology, sensing techniques and distributed metrology.

- Achieves maximum sensing lengths similar to those when it is used in a single fiber segment.

- Easily scalable to a large number of branches as segments of big length optic fiber.

- Allows simultaneously monitor all segments that make up the average of optic fiber in each point.


As a first aspect of the invention, is presented a distributed characterization system with at least one branch in which there are two or more segments of optical fibers which comprises:

  • Light emitting medias adapted to emit light at least in two different wavelengths.
  • Routing medias located in each ramification of the optic fiber media, and adapted for routing or distributing emitted light between segments which arise of that ramification.
  • Detection medias to detect a plurality of optical signals resulting from emitted light propagation by the different segments of optical fiber.
  • Analysis medias, connected to the detection medias that characterize each optical fiber segment according to optical signals generated in that segment. Therefore, the system allows characterize arbitrary topologies of optical fiber media without adding measurement elements or active switches at the branches.

As a second aspect of the invention, is presented  a distributed characterization method applied to an optic fiber media, with at least one branch comprising at least two optical fiber segments, which comprises:

  • Light emission, light centered on a first wavelength and centered on a second wavelength, simultaneously or sequentially, being able to perform in one or two opposite ends of the optical fiber medias.
  • Distribution of emitted light between the optical fiber segments of the bifurcation depending on their wavelength. The optical signal generated in each segment can be centered on the same emission wavelength and being generated by reflection or transmission, or be centered on a different wavelength than the emission wavelength, being able to propagate itself in the same direction of the emitted light or being contra propagate respect to emitted light. It is also possible the generation of multiple optical signals to use in the characterization.
  • Characterize each segment of optical fiber according to the optical signals generated as a result of propagation. Detection may be simultaneous or sequential, being able to performed in a unique end or on the two opposite ends of the optical fiber media.
  • In one of its preferential implementations, the method consists on characterize the optical fiber media by an optical reflectometry technique sensible to the phase (ɸOTDR).


  • Telecommunications, electronics, energy, security and defense.

Related Keywords

  • Optical Networks and Systems
  • Energy Storage and Transport
  • Local area networks (including voice/data PBX systems)
  • Fibre Optics
  • Energy Distribution
  • distributed optical fiber sensor
  • distributed fiber optics metrology
  • wavelength multiplexing
  • scattering rayleigh
  • scattering raman
  • chromatic dispersion
  • polarization mode dispersion

About Universidad de Alcalá-OTRI

The Technology Transfer Office at Alcalá University serves as a liaison between the University and its socioeconomic environment in terms of research and innovation. It encorages collaboration between research groups from universities and companies/institutions, with the objective to promote and commercialize research results and scientific capabilities.

Some of the services offered by this office are specified in the following list:

- Promotion of R & D and improvement of the relationships with companies.
- Promote the participation in R & D projects applicants to public calls (regional, national and European).
- Advising, processing and monitoring of patents and other forms of industrial protection.
- Support in the negotiation of contracts and agreements for R&D&i

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