We present the principle, fabrication, and characterization of a novel wavefront splitting intrinsic Fabry-Perot fiber temperature sensor. The sensor is made by splicing a section of fused silica tubing to the tip of a single-mode fiber. The completed sensor has the same diameter as the fiber and the sensor length is less than 0.5 mm.
A novel Intrinsic Fabry-Perot fiber-optic sensor is presented in this paper. The sensors were made through two simple steps: wet chemical etch and fusion splice. Micro air-gaps were generated inside the fibers and functioned as reflective mirrors. This procedure not only provides a simple and cost effective technology for fabricating intrinsic Fabry-Perot Interferometric (IFPI) fiber sensors, but also provides two possible IFPI structures. Both of the fiber cavity between the air-gaps or the air-gap and cleaved fiber end can be used as sensing elements. With these two structures, this sensor can be used to measure the temperature, strain, pressure, refractive index of chemicals and the thin film thickness by itself. Multi-point measurements can also be achieved by multiplexing. Furthermore, it also can be multiplexed with other sensors such as Long Period Gratings (LPG) to provide compensations for other perturbation sensing. Theoretical and experimental studies of two sensor structures are described. Experimental results show that high resolution and high sensitivity can be obtained with appropriate signal processing.
In this paper, deep microstructures on fused silica material, which are useful for fabrication of the fiber optic sensors, were obtained by using a wet chemical etching process. The etching solutions and the masking materials used for developing deep structure are described in this paper. The etch rate of a fused silica diaphragm in room temperature ranged from 46nm per minute to 83nm per minute with different concentrations of Buffered Hydrogen Fluoride (BHF). The etch depth of one step etching was 25μm with the surface roughness less than 20nm (peak-to-peak value). The optical reflectance from the deep etched surface was 4%, which is the same as a well-cleaved fiber end face. This result made the visibility of interference fringes from the single mode fiber optic sensors to be as high as 96%. Furthermore, two-step structures on the fused silica diaphragms with the total depth greater than 35μm are demonstrated. To the best
knowledge of the authors, this is the deepest structure produced by wet etching process on fused silica material. Fiber optic pressure sensors based on deep etched diaphragms were fabricated and tested. Fabrication of microstructures on the fiber end faces by using this process is therefore possible.