In data transmission systems there are applications where lateral coupling light is requested. Fluorescent optical fibers radiate light as a response to incident illumination along the side. Because of photosensitivity along the side, the plastic photo-luminescent fiber is considered a flexible coupling alternative of the light, instead of discrete position coupler or tap. Fluorescent optical fibers have been investigated for data transmission applications. With commercially available fluorescent fiber for the optical bus system and smartphone based data transmission (ASK modulation) the data rates up to 500Mbit/s are feasible, by selecting the right parameters such as short fluorescence lifetime, spectral region of the fibers correlated with light sources and photodetectors and in-fiber low spectral attenuation. The application is useful in automotive applications for data transmission and distributed sensing.
Fluorescent optical fibers employ the luminescence property of fluorescent dyes in order to radiate light as a response to incident illumination. When multiple dyes are used to dope the fiber, fluorescence results from the energy transfer between the donor and acceptor dyes and the reabsorption process.<p> </p> In this work we propose a high-resolution distributed optical sensor for position monitoring developed around a yellow fluorescent fiber. Immunity vs. ambient light variations is achieved by employing the spectral behavior of the donoracceptor energy transfer mechanism and the reabsorption process. This consists in a red shift of the fiber emission peaks vs. distance. <p> </p>Extensive experimentation with the laboratory proof of principle validates the proposed solution. Measurements carried out in laboratory environment under ambient illumination show that the wavelength of the emission peaks is insensitive to the intensity of the incident light, but is dependent on the variation of the ambient light color. Accordingly, rather than monitoring the wavelengths of the emission peaks, the proposed positions sensor evaluates the spectral spacing between the peaks. This provides an accurate estimate of the distance between the fiber end and the incident light application point. The proposed sensor exhibits a monotonous decrease of the spectral spacing vs. distance, which is indeed insensitive to limited variation of the ambient light.