A Layman’s Definition of Optical Power Meters

What are Optical Power Meters?

Optical power measurement is one of the basic activities in the optic calibration and measurements. An optical power meter (OPM) is a testing instrument used to accurately measure the power of fiber optic equipment or the power of an optical signal passed through the fiber cable.

What Does An Optical Power Meter Do?

Optical power meters are utilized for the testing of single-mode and multi-mode systems; additionally they are utilized for the establishment and support of fiber optic systems. They have an automatic wavelength detection feature, which enables higher effectiveness to be accomplished during measurement and prevent errors by the client. The insertion loss can be examined using an LED or Laser Source.

It also helps in determining the power loss or absolute loss incurred to the optical signal while passing through the optical media hence it is an essential tool for fiber technicians for measurement and calibration purposes.

The optical power level (-dBM) can be measured in telecommunication center and CATV networks.

Features of An Optical Power Meter

A standard optical power meter should have maximum flexibility to handle all different types of detectors. The operational principles vary between detectors as some generate current signals, and others voltage signals, while a few more require pulsed input signals. The three main components of optical power meter are: the interface (detector), the analog board and the digital board. It is used to calculate photon energy in the form of current or voltage by using some detection devices like photodiodes, thermopiles, or pyro-electric detectors. The next-step is post-processing where analog signal are digitalized. A powerful processor, high-tech digital board and a low noise analog design allows high-level of sensitivity which was previously not possible.

OPM serves as a convenient tool for research & development, manufacture, and maintenance of equipment that have laser light sources.

How Do Optical Power Meters Help the Industry?

Growth in telecommunication industry has resulted the demand for the highly accurate optical power meter, innovative technology, improved connectivity, and the budding need for analysis that is at real time.

Moreover, growing safety concerns coupled with environmental requirements, device accuracy for accurate detection and inspection of errors, and the increased applications of automation application are some of the factors that are triggering the growth of optical power meter market in the coming years.

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