A novel fiber optic pressure sensor system with self-compensation capability for harsh environment applications is reported. The system compensates for the fluctuation of source power and the variation of fiber losses by self-referencing the two channel outputs of a fiber optic extrinsic Fabry-Pérot interfrometric (EFPI) sensor probe. A novel sensor fabrication system based on the controlled thermal bonding method is also described. For the first time, high-performance fiber optic EFPI sensor probes can be fabricated in a controlled fashion with excellent mechanical strength and temperature stability to survive and operate in the high-pressure and high-temperature coexisting harsh environment. Using a single-mode fiber sensor probe and the prototype signal-processing unit, we demonstrate pressure measurement up to 8400 psi and achieved resolution of 0.005% (2=0.4 psi) at atmospheric pressure, repeatability of ±0.15% (±13 psi), and 25-h stability of 0.09% (7 psi). The system also shows excellent remote operation capability when tested by separating the sensor probe from its signal-processing unit at a distance of 6.4 km.
Detailed studies on fiber optic pressure and temperature sensors for oil down-hole applications are described in this paper. The sensor head is an interferometric based fiber optic senor in which the air-gap will change with the pressure or temperature. For high-speed applications, a novel self-calibrating interferometric/intensity-based (SCIIB) scheme, which realizes compensations for both the light source drift and the fiber loss variation, was used to demodulate the pressure (or temperature) signals. An improved white light system was developed for sensor fabrication. This system is also used as the signal demodulation system providing very high resolution. Experiment results show that the SCIIB system achieves 0.1% accuracy with a 0-8000psi working range for the pressure sensor and a 0-600 degree(s)C working range for the temperature sensor. The resolution of the white light system is about +/- 0.5 nm with a dynamic range up to 10 micrometers. The long -term testing results in the oil site are also presented in this paper.
Innovative harsh environment sensors are desirable in a wide range of industrial and military applications where conventional measurement devices are difficult to apply. Such examplesexist in many technical fields, such as aerospace, petroleum and power industries.