Abstract

A relative humidity (RH) sensor based on long-period grating (LPG) with different responses is proposed by utilizing agarose gel as the sensitive cladding film. The spectral characteristic is discussed as the ambient humidity level ranges from 25% to 95% RH. Since increment of RH will result in volume expansion and refractive index increment of the agarose gel, the LPG is sensitive to applied strain and ambient refractive index; both the resonance wavelength and coupling intensity present particular responses to RH within two different RH ranges (25%–65% RH and 65%–96% RH). The coupling intensity decreases within a lower RH range while it increases throughout a higher RH range. The resonance wavelength is sensitive to the higher RH levels, and the highest sensitivity reaches 114.7pm/%RH, and shares the same RH turning point with coupling intensity response. From a practical perspective, the proposed RH sensor would find its potential applications in high humidity level, temperature-independent RH sensing and multiparameter sensing based on wavelength/power hybrid demodulation and even static RH alarm for automatic monitoring of a particular RH value owing to the nonmonotonic RH dependence of the transmission power within the whole tested RH range.

© 2012 Optical Society of America

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