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Join Date: Mar 2005
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Fiber Optics on Aircraft

09/18/2006 11:38 AM

Researchers from Texas A&M have invented an optical on/off switch that could replace the electrical wiring on airplanes and reduce the risk of fire. The crucial component, a Fabry-Perot interferometer (FFPI), is bonded to a cantilever which is connected to a switch. Pressing the switch creates a force on the cantilever, which causes it to bend, changing the spacing between the mirrors and thereby altering the interference pattern. The altered interference pattern provides a signal to indicate that the switch has been pressed. A network of other interferometers and lasers filters out fluctuations in temperature and other disturbances so that only the pressing of the button registers as a valid signal.

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