Abstract

Multicore optical fibers are especially attractive for the fabrication of curvature and shape sensors due to the spatial distribution of the different cores. Fiber Bragg gratings have been used in the past for the implementation of these sensors, however, despite their inherent properties, they have a very limited sensitivity. In this paper, we study the use of long period gratings (LPGs) for the implementation of a directional curvature sensor. We inscribed a set of three different LPGs in a seven core optical fiber using a selective inscription technique. We inscribed a single LPG in the external cores and an array of three LPGs in the central core. We have characterized the proposed sensor for strain, torsion, and curvature magnitude and direction. The proposed sensor shows a linear response for curvature magnitudes from 0 to 1.77 m–1 with a maximum curvature sensitivity of –4.85 nm/m–1 and shows a near sinusoidal behavior in all the cores with curvature directions from 0° to 360°. The sensor shows a good insensitivity to strain. The torsion in the multicore optical fibers can be detected and measured using the maximum attenuation of the LPGs in the external cores.

© 2017 IEEE

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