Field tests in desert terrain of a distributed sensor system for detecting and locating intruders based on the phase-sensitive optical-time-domain reflectometer (Φ-OTDR) are described. The sensing element is a single-mode telecommunications fiber in a 4.5 mm diameter cable buried in a trench filled with loose sand. Light pulses from a continuous-wave Er:fiber Fabry-Perot laser with a narrow (<3 kHz) instantaneous linewidth and low (few kilohertz per second) frequency drift are injected into one end of the fiber, and the orthogonal polarizations of the backscattered light are monitored with separate receivers. Localized phase changes in the optical carrier are sensed by subtracting a Φ-OTDR trace from an earlier stored trace. High sensitivity and consistent detection of intruders on foot and of vehicles traveling down a road near the cable line was realized over a cable length of 8.5 km and a total fiber path of 19 km in real time.
© 2007 Optical Society of AmericaPDF Article