A novel approach to interrogating in real time a linearly chirped fiber Bragg grating (LCFBG) sensor based on spectral-shaping and wavelength-to-time (SS-WTT) mapping with improved interrogation resolution and signal-to-noise (SNR) ratio is proposed and experimentally demonstrated. The proposed system consists of a mode-locked laser source, an optical interferometer incorporating an LCFBG, and a dispersive element. The optical interferometer has a spectral response with an increasing free spectral range (FSR). The incorporation of the LCFBG in the interferometer would encode the sensing information in the spectral response as a change in the FSR. After SS-WTT mapping, a linearly chirped microwave waveform is obtained. The correlation of the linearly chirped microwave waveform with a chirped reference waveform would provide a sharp correlation peak with its position indicating the wavelength shift of the LCFBG. A theoretical analysis is carried out, which is validated by a numerical simulation and an experiment. The experimental results show that the proposed system can provide an interrogation resolution as high as 0.25 $\mu \varepsilon$ at a speed of 48.6 MHz.
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