Automated Optical Fiber Connector End-Face Analysis
Bissett, Dean Allen
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This thesis is based on the development of an automated test station used to examine and evaluate specific parameters on an optical fiber connector's end-face. These parameters were vertex offset, radius of curvature, and over polishing. The automated test station was developed to overcome problems associated with the existing test procedure, specifically, the use of a reference connector. The new procedure requires the following steps. First, the connector end-face is illuminated by a laser. The end-face image is then captured, through an interferometer, by a CCD camera. This image is then passed to a micro-computer where it is evaluated. The image evaluation software was also developed for this thesis. One of the project goals was to make the test procedure highly automated. This degree of automation was required so that the test station's operator would require minimal training. The test results are presented in a clear manner and a pass or fail indication is given for each parameter evaluated. Another goal was to have the test station complete a test and display the results quickly. The final prototype requires an average of 1.3 seconds to evaluate and report on the end-face parameters examined. This fast operation allows many connectors to be tested in a short period of time. The hardware and software were successfully developed and implemented in an integrated test station. Use of this station improves upon the current procedures used to test optical fiber connectors and helps ensure that the connectors produced are reliable and of high quality.