Abstract

The monitoring of interferometer fiber optic sensors using a laser that is scanned over a wide frequency range is investigated. The interrogation technique is based on the principle that if the light-source frequency varies linearly with time, the optical signal reflected or transmitted is intensity modulated at a frequency that is proportional to the optical path difference (OPD) in the interferometer. Fourier components in the detected optical output signal then correspond to the OPDs of any interferometers that have contributed to this modulation. The temporal position of a peak in the power spectrum of this signal is proportional to the OPD of the interferometer that is responsible for that peak. A fine tuning of the OPD value is determined from the phase of the corresponding Fourier component. Experimentally, an Er:fiber laser scanned over a 46-nm range centered at 1540 nm was used to monitor intrinsic fiber Fabry–Perot interferometers (FFPIs). Variations in the laser scan rate were compensated with the optical signal modulated by a reference FFPI held at a constant temperature. The OPD measurement resolution was 3.6 nm, and the dynamic range was 1.3 × 107. The temperature was measured from 20 °C to 610 °C with a 0.02 °C resolution, and multiplexing of three of the sensors arranged in series was demonstrated.

© 2002 Optical Society of America

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