Interferometric fiber optic gyroscopes belong to the class of inertial sensors. Due to their high accuracy they are used for absolute position and rotation measurement in manned/unmanned vehicles, e.g. submarines, ground vehicles, aircraft or satellites. The important system components are the light source, the electro optical phase modulator, the optical fiber coil and the photodetector. This paper is focused on approaches to realize a stable light source and fiber coil. Superluminescent diode and erbium doped fiber laser were studied to realize an accurate and stable light source. Therefor the influence of the polarization grade of the source and the effects due to back reflections to the source were studied. During operation thermal working conditions severely affect accuracy and stability of the optical fiber coil, which is the sensor element. Thermal gradients that are applied to the fiber coil have large negative effects on the achievable system accuracy of the optic gyroscope. Therefore a way of calculating and compensating the rotation rate error of a fiber coil due to thermal change is introduced. A simplified 3 dimensional FEM of a quadrupole wound fiber coil is used to determine the build-up of thermal fields in the polarization maintaining fiber due to outside heating sources. The rotation rate error due to these sources is then calculated and compared to measurement data. A simple regression model is used to compensate the rotation rate error with temperature measurement at the outside of the fiber coil. To realize a compact and robust optical package for some of the relevant optical system components an approach based on ion exchanged waveguides in thin glass was developed. This waveguides are used to realize 1x2 and 1x4 splitter with fiber coupling interface or direct photodiode coupling.
Various applications in the field of photonic microsystems for Dielectric Elastomer Actuators (DEA) were shown with this research. DEA belong to the class of Electro Active Polymers (EAP) and have the potential to substitute common technologies like piezoelectric actuators. DEAs offers several advantages like compact and variable shapes, large actuation ranges and cost efficient production processes that have to be emphasized. For the market of adaptive photonic microsystems especially area actuators are very suitable. They can be used e.g. as tuneable lens, mirror or grating component and tool for optical fiber alignment. These area actuators have a similar structure like a capacitor. They consist of three layers, two electrode layers on top and bottom and one dielectric layer in the center. The dielectric layer is made of a deformable and prestretched elastomer film. When applying a voltage between both electrode layers the thickness of the dielectric film is compressed and the actuator is displaced in the plane. The use of material compositions like a polymer matrix with graphite, carbon nano particles or carbon nano tubes as well as thin metal films for the electrodes were studied. The paper presents results on suitable dielectric and electrode materials, actuator geometries and respective adaptive photonic components. The manufacturing process of area actuators is described in detail. As a basic size of the area actuators (20 × 20) mm2 were chosen. Onto the produced area actuators polymer lenses or mirrors were assembled. The deflection of the optical beam path is calculated with optical simulations and measured at the prepared adaptive optical components. Static actuations of about ±15 μm are achieved when applying a voltage of 200 V. Also the function of a tuneable beam splitter is demonstrated to show further applications.