Fiber Bragg gratings (FBG) have become preferred sensory structures in fiber optic sensing system. High sensitivity, embedability, and multiplexing capabilities make FBGs superior to other sensor configurations. The main feature of FBGs is that they respond in the wavelength domain with the wavelength of the returned signal as the indicator of the measured parameter. The wavelength is then converted to optical intensity by a photodetector to detect corresponding changes in intensity. This wavelength-to-intensity conversion is a crucial part in any FBG-based sensing system. Among the various types of wavelength-to-intensity converters, unbalanced interferometers are especially attractive be-cause of their small weight and volume, lack of moving parts, easy integration, and good stability.
In this paper we investigate the applicability of unbalanced interferometers to analyze signals reflected from Bragg gratings. Analytical and experimental data are presented.
The development of integrated fiber optic sensors for smart propulsion systems demands that the sensors be able to perform in extreme environments. In order to use fiber optic sensors effectively in an extreme environment one must have a thorough understanding of the sensor’s limits and how it responds under various environmental conditions. The sensor evaluation currently involves examining the performance of fiber Bragg gratings at elevated temperatures.
Fiber Bragg gratings (FBG) are periodic variations of the refractive index of an optical fiber. These periodic variations allow the FBG to act as an embedded optical filter passing the majority of light propagating through a fiber while reflecting back a narrow band of the incident light. The peak reflected wavelength of the FBG is known as the Bragg wavelength. Since the period and width of the refractive index variation in the fiber determines the wavelengths that are transmitted and reflected by the grating, any force acting on the fiber that alters the physical structure of the grating will change what wavelengths are transmitted and what wavelengths are reflected by the grating. Both thermal and mechanical forces acting on the grating will alter its physical characteristics allowing the FBG sensor to detect both temperature variations and physical stresses, strain, placed upon it. This ability to sense multiple physical forces makes the FBG a versatile sensor.
This paper reports on test results of the performance of FBGs at elevated temperatures. The gratings looked at thus far have been either embedded in polymer matrix materials or freestanding with the primary focus of this paper being on the freestanding FBGs. Throughout the evaluation process, various parameters of the FBGs performance were monitored and recorded. These parameters include the peak Bragg wavelength, the power of the Bragg wavelength, and total power returned by the FBG. Several test samples were subjected to identical test conditions to allow for statistical analysis of the data. Test procedures, calibrations, and referencing techniques are presented in the paper along with directions for future research.