Abstract

We derived the transfer function for a white-light interferometric sensor based on highly birefringent (HB) fiber, assuming that both sensing and receiving interferometers are dispersive. This transfer function indicates that different responses to changes in the measurand may be observed depending on whether displacement of the contrast function or the interference fringes is detected. In the first case the sensitivity of the sensor is determined by the influence of the measurand on modal polarization dispersion while in the second case it depends on the influence of the measurand on modal birefringence of the HB fiber. This sensitivity difference limits the operation range of recently proposed zero-order fringe-tracking methods within which the unambiguous measurement is possible. The dispersion effects for a white-light interferometric strain sensor composed of York HB or Andrew E-type fiber as a sensing element and a quartz Wollaston prism as a receiving interferometer were studied experimentally. Sensitivities of modal polarization dispersion, modal birefringence, and chromatic dispersion of modal birefringence to the strain were determined for both types of sensing fiber. For these specific combinations of sensing/receiving interferometers we also determined the unambiguous measurement range for zero-order fringe-tracking techniques.

© 1994 Optical Society of America

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