Based on the experience acquired early from pioneering work at Stanford University and Thomson-CSF starting in the mid 70s, fiber optic gyro (FOG) R&D began at Photonetics in the late 80s to yield OCTANS, a FOG-based inertial strapdown system providing attitude and gyro compassing, at the end of the 90s. This FOG activity was spun out from Photonetics in October 2000 to create iXsea with only 16 people. The product line was rapidly expanded with PHINS, an inertial-grade INS (Inertial Navigation System) and later with MARINS, a strategic-grade INS, as well as with ASTRIX systems developed for satellites in cooperation with EADS-Astrium (today Airbus Defence & Space). In 2010, iXsea merged with several subsidiaries of its parent company, iXcore, to create iXblue. Among these subsidiaries were iXfiber, a maker of specialty fibers, and Photline, producing lithium-niobate integrated optics, hence allowing iXblue to fully master the key FOG components supply chain. Ten years later, the ‘adventure' is continuing and the former start-up is now quite a significant player in the inertial world, especially for high-grade applications. The cumulated number of high-performance 3-axis systems in service has grown to over 8,000, i.e. more than 25,000 FOG axes, with a bias stability ranging from 30 mdeg/h down to 15 μdeg/h, and an angular random walk (ARW) performance ranging from 8 mdeg/√h down to 40 μdeg/√h depending on the size of their sensing coils (3 m2 to 1000 m2) and on the application!
We present a polarizing optical fiber designed to operate at 780 nm with, to date, an unprecedented spectral window. The polarization extinction ratio obtained for a 3 meters long sample of this fiber is greater than 60 dB over a 40 nm window. We will demonstrate these performances by presenting a new method for characterizing the rejection as a function of wavelength. This method presents many advantages; not the least being that it yields rejection values in excess of the individual rejections of polarizers used for the setup.