IC2 today announced the company has recently concluded a Phase I contract with the NASA SBIR program to develop a Fast Response, Fiber-Optic Micromachined Five-Hole Probe for Three-Dimensional Flow Measurements in Harsh Environments. This work seeks to advance the development of a MEMS optical probe capable of significantly improved performance compared to existing available sensors, by enabling faster response time, higher bandwidth transduction and increased angular measurement range while reducing sensor power requirements. The proposed technology offers these benefits in a compact, high-temperature capable package, extending past successes in fiber-optic, micromachined pressure sensing technology.
Historically, multi-hole probes were designed using conventional pressure sensors located at some distance from the measurement point and connected via long pressure ports. The distance enables usage of physically larger pressure sensors without overly disturbing the flow, however the long tubing limits the bandwidth and slows down the entire measurement process.
To overcome these limitations, IC2 is developing a fiber-optic, micromachined transducer that meets or exceeds dynamic performance requirements (high bandwidth, low settling time, fast response time, high dynamic range, increased angular resolution) while improving the operational temperature range, reducing the probe size, and lowering the power requirements. The optical transduction method, when used with a microfabricated, integrated array of pressure sensitive diaphragms, combines the benefits of both traditional and micromachined multi-hole probes without introducing the drawbacks of either approach.
The Phase I work was carried out in conjunction with the University of Florida. IC2 hopes to continue this work directly through the NASA SBIR program and has submitted a Phase II follow-on proposal, now under evaluation.