Optical sensors based on Fiber Bragg Gratings (FBGs) are used in several applications and industries. In order for fiber optic sensors to compete with electrical sensors, several critical parameters of both the sensors and sensor interrogators need to be in place such as performance, cost, size, reliability relevant to the target application. Here we have developed a tunable laser based optical interrogator which delivers high performance (up to 8kHz sweep-rate and 120dB dynamic range) and precision (<100fm) by optimizing the laser calibration of a telecom tunable laser and incorporating optical periodic wavelength references (e.g. MZI) to correct and compensate for wavelength non-linearity and noise during operation. Scaling up optical sensing systems to deliver high level of performance over a large number of sensors is enabled by synchronizing multiple interrogators. Further improvements can be achieved by using photonic integrated circuit (PIC) technology which reduces the footprint, cost, and improves performance. There exists several PIC technology platforms (e.g. InP, Si, TriPlex) that could be used to develop different optical building blocks used in the interrogator. Such building blocks include the tunable laser, couplers, photodiodes, MZIs, etc. are available on the InP platform. Here we have demonstrated the operation of an interrogator using PIC technology to replace many of the discrete optical components. The design and chip manufacturing was carried out as part of an InP multi-project wafer (MPW) run under the EU PARADIGM project. A custom package supporting fiber arrays was designed and manufactured to demonstrate the PIC functionality in an optical interrogator.
Selwan K. Ibrahim, Martin Farnan, and Devrez M. Karabacak, "Design of a photonic integrated based optical interrogator," Proc. SPIE 10110, Photonic Instrumentation Engineering IV, 101100U (Presented at SPIE OPTO: February 02, 2017; Published: 20 February 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2250890.
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