A long-period grating (LPG) coated with gelatin was developed as a high relative humidity (RH) sensor. The resonance dip or coupling intensity of the LPG spectrum varies with humidity while the resonance wavelength remains constant. The principle of operation of the sensor is based on the effect of an external medium, with higher refractive index than that of silica or cladding, on the LPG spectrum. Experimental investigations on the sensor yield a sensitivity of 1.2dB/%RH with an accuracy of ±0.25%RH, and a resolution of ±0.00833%RH. The LPG RH sensor also offers repeatability, hysteresis and stability errors of less than ±0.877%RH, ±0.203%RH and ±0.04%RH respectively. In addition to the characterization of the LPG RH sensor, further studies were conducted to determine the effect of grating periodicities on the sensitivity. Results show that higher-order cladding modes from smaller grating periods enable the sensor to achieve higher sensitivity to humidity. This method is proposed to be more cost effective as compared to more complex spectroscopic methods based on wavelength detection. This sensor can also help to solve problems in measuring high humidity with existing relative humidity measurement systems.
Fiber gratings have been studied for their applications in sensing and communications. Many sensing applications of the uniform fiber Bragg grating, chirped fiber grating and long period grating have been studied, proposed and commercialized. Sampled chirped gratings have been studied for multichannel dispersion compensation in DWDM systems. In this paper, we show that the sampled chirped fiber grating can be used as a distributed pressure sensor. The chirp provides ease of manufacture of many gratings. The sampling results in many small, uniform grating-like structures. This fact can be used to simulate a distributed sensor over the length of the sampled chirped grating. When a surface comes into contact with the sensor, the distribution of the pressure determines the shift in central wavelength of the various sub-gratings. The sub-grating that experiences the maximum pressure will show maximum wavelength shift whereas adjacent sub-gratings will show less shift. This can also give the location of the pressure. The sensor design comprises of a sampled chirped grating embedded in unidirectional fiber-reinforced composite prepreg. The prepreg enhances the mechanical strength and the unidirectional embedding reduces birefringence. The number of layers in the prepreg stack varies the sensitivity. Such distributed pressure sensors can be applied in robotics, ergonomics, and in the biomedical field.