A Brillouin optical time-domain analysis (BOTDA) technique for enhancing the probe power to +5 dBm is proposed and demonstrated, which is based on a conventional dual sideband probe setup, but the probe waves are modulated by a frequency shift keying signal. The pump distortion is compensated in the time domain with this technique. By employing a 105-km sensing fiber, this technique is experimentally validated with 2-m spatial resolution. Furthermore, another experiment is designed to show the good tolerance for the sensing fibers combined with large Brillouin frequency shift (BFS) difference, as is demonstrated in a 50-km-long sensing fiber consisting of two segments with large BFS difference (200 MHz).
A high-performance Brillouin optical time-domain analysis (BOTDA) is achieved using the Brillouin gain bandwidth reduction technique combined with high injected probe power. In the probe branch, dual-tone probe wave with fixed frequency separation is used for enhancing the probe power to +5 dBm. In the pump branch, a differential π-phase-shift long-pulse width pair is used to narrow the Brillouin gain spectrum. On the basis of high probe power and 2.5-m spatial resolution, the Brillouin gain spectrum can be narrowed to a level of 17 MHz, whereas the Brillouin gain spectrum of conventional single-pulse BOTDA sensor is 51 MHz. As a result, 50-km sensing range with 2.5-m spatial resolution and 1.1-MHz Brillouin frequency shift (BFS) accuracy has been achieved. Meanwhile, the narrowed Brillouin gain spectrum can give rise to sharp rising/falling edge in the BFS profile when the hot spots are introduced, which increases the detection robustness of the small temperature/strain change in the BOTDA system.
The robustness of the BOTDA method based on dual-tone probe wave with fixed frequency separation is studied. It is verified that when the sensing fiber consists of two fiber segments with large Brillouin frequency shift difference (>100 MHz), the non-local effect would take place in the front fiber segment, which gives rise to frequency error on the determination of hotspot. Aiming at solving this problem, both the upper and lower probe sidebands are acquired simultaneously by using two photodiodes, and the average between the Brillouin gain and loss spectrum is calculated to eliminate the detrimental impact of the non-local effect.
A novel BOTDA method based on differential ∏-phase-shift-pulse pair is proposed for narrowing the Brillouin gain spectrum. Theoretical analysis and experimental results demonstrate that the proposal could achieve 17 MHz Brillouin gain spectrum linewidth with a fixed spatial resolution of 2.5 m. The Brillouin gain spectrum linewidth is 3 times narrower than that obtained using conventional single-pulse based BOTDA method with same spatial resolution, resulting in √3 times frequency accuracy improvement. Furthermore, the sharper rising/falling edge of the Brillouin frequency shift profile resulting from the narrowed Brillouin gain spectrum could obtain more precise temperature/strain information along the fiber.