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22 June 2015 Robust fiber optic flexure sensor exploiting mode coupling in few-mode fiber
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Few-mode fiber (FMF) has become very popular for use in multiplexing telecommunications data over fiber optics. The simplicity of producing FMF and the relative robustness of the optical modes, coupled with the simplicity of reading out the information make this fiber a natural choice for communications. However, little work has been done to take advantage of this type of fiber for sensors. Here, we demonstrate the feasibility of using FMF properties as a mechanism for detecting flexure by exploiting mode coupling between modes when the cylindrical symmetry of the fiber is perturbed. The theoretical calculations shown here are used to understand the coupling between the lowest order linearly polarized mode (LP01) and the next higher mode (LP11x or LP11y) under the action of bending. Twisting is also evaluated as a means to detect flexure and was determined to be the most reliable and effective method when observing the LP21 mode. Experimental results of twisted fiber and observations of the LP21 mode are presented here. These types of fiber flexure sensors are practical in high voltage, high magnetic field, or high temperature medical or industrial environments where typical electronic flexure sensors would normally fail. Other types of flexure measurement systems that utilize fiber, such as Rayleigh back-scattering [1], are complicated and expensive and often provide a higher-than necessary sensitivity for the task at hand.
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Bryan Nelsen, Florian Rudek, Christopher Taudt, Tobias Baselt, and Peter Hartmann "Robust fiber optic flexure sensor exploiting mode coupling in few-mode fiber", Proc. SPIE 9525, Optical Measurement Systems for Industrial Inspection IX, 95250F (22 June 2015);

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