This paper highlights the efforts of the Naval Surface Warfare Center to develop a fiber optic pressure transducer. The initial application for this fiber optic sensor is to monitor the pressure in the sonar dome of a surface ship. This required a 0 - 100 pounds per square inch (gage) sensor. This sensor, developed by Luxtron, Incorporated, under a Small Business Innovative Research contract, utilizes a vibrating quartz crystal as the transduction mechanism. Changes in the resonant frequency of the quartz crystal as a result of force applied to the crystal is monitored using a simple fiber optic link. This paper discusses the principal of operation and design of the sensor, advantages and disadvantages of this type of sensor, development results to date, and future development plans.
Portions of this paper have been presented previously in a paper entitled “Fiberoptic pressure sensor based on vibrating quartz crystal technology” presented at the International Congress on Optical Science and Engineering, The Hague, Netherlands, March, 1990.