Polymer optical fibre (POF) has been receiving increasing attention for sensing applications. The fundamental properties of POF such as PMMA deliver at least an order of magnitude in improvements over silica fibres, though practical difficulties create additional complexity. POF has the potential to deliver lower acoustic impedance, a reduced Young’s Modulus and a higher acoustic sensitivity within the megahertz region. In contrast, existing piezo-electric transducers have an inherent narrow acoustic bandwidth and a proportionality to size that causes difficulties for applications such as endoscopy within the biomedical domain. POF generally suffers high attenuation per kilometre at telecommunications wavelengths, limiting fibre lengths to mere centimetres. However, CYTOP, a graded index perfluorinated polymer, is a commercially certified product allowing the use of telecoms region technology and tens of meters of fibre without exceeding acceptable losses. With an effective refractive index between 1.32 and 1.33, it is fundamentally better placed for applications using water or a similar media for acoustic coupling. We demonstrate ultrasonic detection at 5,10 and 15 MHz using a TFBG within a CYTOP fibre in the telecoms region and the latest knowledge in POF handling and connectorisation. This first step in the use of CYTOP demonstrates the viability of the sensor and paves the way towards further advances towards its eventual application.
The first demonstration of a polymer optical fibre Bragg grating (POFBG) embedded in a 3-D printed structure is
reported. Its cyclic strain performance and temperature characteristics are examined and discussed. The sensing patch
has a repeatable strain sensitivity of 0.38 pm/μepsilon. Its temperature behaviour is unstable, with temperature sensitivity
values varying between 30-40 pm/°C.
This paper reports the first demonstration of a silica fibre Bragg grating (SOFBG) embedded in an FDM 3-D printed housing to yield a dual grating temperature-compensated strain sensor. We also report the first ever integration of polymer fibre Bragg grating (POFBG) within a 3-D printed sensing patch for strain or temperature sensing. The cyclic strain performance and temperature characteristics of both devices are examined and discussed. The strain sensitivities of the sensing patches were 0.40 and 0.95 pm/με for SOFBG embedded in ABS, 0.38 pm/με for POFBG in PLA, and 0.15 pm/με for POFBG in ABS. The strain response was linear above a threshold and repeatable. The temperature sensitivity of the SOFBG sensing patch was found to be up to 169 pm/°C, which was up to 17 times higher than for an unembedded silica grating. Unstable temperature response POFBG embedded in PLA was reported, with temperature sensitivity values varying between 30 and 40 pm/°C.
The annealing effects on strain and stress sensitivity of polymer optical fibre Bragg grating sensors after their photoinscription are investigated. PMMA optical fibre based Bragg grating sensors are first photo-inscribed and then they were placed into hot water for annealing. Strain, stress and force sensitivity measurements are taken before and after annealing. Parameters such as annealing time and annealing temperature are investigated. The change of the fibre diameter due to water absorption and the annealing process is also considered. The results show that annealing the polymer optical fibre tends to increase the strain, stress and force sensitivity of the photo-inscribed sensor.
Opto-acoustic imaging is a growing field of research in recent years, providing functional imaging of physiological biomarkers, such as the oxygenation of haemoglobin. Piezo electric transducers are the industry standard detector for ultrasonics, but their limited bandwidth, susceptibility to electromagnetic interference and their inversely proportional sensitivity to size all affect the detector performance. Sensors based on polymer optical fibres (POF) are immune to electromagnetic interference, have lower acoustic impedance and a reduced Young’s Modulus compared to silica fibres. Furthermore, POF enables the possibility of a wideband sensor and a size appropriate to endoscopy. Micro-structured POF (mPOF) used in an interferometric detector has been shown to be an order of magnitude more sensitive than silica fibre at 1 MHz and 3 times more sensitive at 10 MHz. We present the first opto-acoustic measurements obtained using a 4.7mm PMMA mPOF Bragg grating with a fibre diameter of 130 μm and present the lateral directivity pattern of a PMMA mPOF FBG ultrasound sensor over a frequency range of 1-50 MHz. We discuss the impact of the pattern with respect to the targeted application and draw conclusions on how to mitigate the problems encountered.
Polymer optical fibre (POF) is a relatively new and novel technology that presents an innovative approach for ultrasonic endoscopic applications. Currently, piezo electric transducers are the typical detectors of choice, albeit possessing a limited bandwidth due to their resonant nature and a sensitivity that decreases proportionally to their size. Optical fibres provide immunity from electromagnetic interference and POF in particular boasts more suitable physical characteristics than silica optical fibre. The most important of these are lower acoustic impedance, a reduced Young’s Modulus and a higher acoustic sensitivity than single-mode silica fibre at both 1 MHz and 10 MHz. POF therefore offers an interesting alternative to existing technology. Intrinsic fibre structures such as Bragg gratings and Fabry-Perot cavities may be inscribed into the fibre core using UV lasers. These gratings are a modulation of the refractive index of the fibre core and provide the advantages of high reflectivity, customisable bandwidth and point detection. We present a compact in fibre ultrasonic point detector based upon a POF Bragg grating (POFBG) sensor. We demonstrate that the detector is capable of leaving a laboratory environment by using connectorised fibre sensors and make a case for endoscopic ultrasonic detection through use of a mounting structure that better mimics the environment of an endoscopic probe. We measure the effects of water immersion upon POFBGs and analyse the ultrasonic response for 1, 5 and 10 MHz.