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Multiplexing Data Acquisition Offers Greater Flexibility in Measurement
December 21, 2012

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For measurements of all types, including shape, strain, temperature, liquid level, and more

Innovators at NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center have developed an innovative data acquisition method that enhances strain measuring in a wide range of applications. The technology is a multiplexing method for interrogating multiple optical fibers on a single data channel of an optical frequency-domain reflectrometry (OFDR) system. Rather than being limited to a single length of fiber per channel, the multiplexing system enables multiple shorter fibers to be addressed by a single channel. The system is compact and cost-efficient, since requiring fewer channels translates into reduced capital expense and smaller size. Furthermore, unlike current systems, which are limited by the number of channels available in the acquisition hardware, Armstrong's innovation extends the system's flexibility without consuming additional channel resources.


  • Cost-efficient: Requires fewer channels and therefore reduces capital costs
  • Compact: Reduces system size and requires less associated hardware than existing systems
  • Reliable: Allows usage of shorter, easier-to-handle fibers, potentially reducing breakage that would render the fiber unusable
  • Flexible: Enables different sections of the fiber to be placed in various portions of the system rather than having to run a single, long fiber sensor


The multiplexing capability is potentially useful for any application utilizing fiber optic strain sensors, including:

  • Medical: Determining shape for catheters and probes
  • Aerospace: Sensing shape and structural health monitoring
  • Renewable wind energy: Monitoring wind turbine blade deformation
  • Automotive: Monitoring frame stress for improved safety and performance
  • Marine: Monitoring oil tankers, naval vessels, competitive yachts, and submarine hulls
  • Oil and gas: Detecting leaks, monitoring pipelines and down-hole drilling
  • Power: Monitoring nuclear power plant vibration and temperature
  • Seismology: Monitoring shifts in the Earth's crust
  • Industrial: Measuring liquid level in cryogenic and chemical storage tanks


Armstrong has applied for patent protection for this technology.

Commercial Opportunity

This technology is part of NASA's technology transfer program. The program seeks to stimulate broad commercial use/application of NASA-developed technologies. NASA is flexible in its agreements, and opportunities exist for licensing and joint development. Armstrong is interested in a partnership to commercialize this technology.

Contact Information

If you would like more information about this technology or about NASA's technology transfer program, please contact:

Technology Transfer Office
NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center
PO Box 273, M/S 1100
Edwards, CA 93523-0273
Phone: (661) 276-3368
E-mail: DFRC-TTO@mail.nasa.gov

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Page Last Updated: November 14th, 2014
Page Editor: NASA Administrator