Abstract

Gradient-index (GRIN) lenses have been widely used as collimators in various fiber-optic sensors and as optical coupling devices in components designed for optical communication systems. However, relatively little attention has been paid to the birefringent properties of GRIN lenses and the potential for using them as photoelastic sensing elements in optical transducers. Analytical and experimental results are described that were obtained for the intensity distribution produced by studying a GRIN lens by using a polariscope. The residual birefringence inherent in an unloaded lens is initially studied. The lens is then assumed to be diametrically loaded and the superposition is studied by the method of ray tracing. When the results obtained from the simulation for a Selfoc, 0.25-pitch lens are compared with experimental data, an excellent agreement is obtained. Intensity increases monotonically with load, confirming that the lens would be a good choice for the sensing element of an optical transducer designed as part of a strain or acceleration measurement system. The numerical simulation is then used to study the influence of residual stress on sensitivity.

© 1996 Optical Society of America

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