Abstract

Multicore optical fibers are of great interest in the optical sensing field. Their core diversity and spatial distribution enable the development of sensing mechanisms that are not possible in single-core fibers. In this paper, we study the use of the inter-core crosstalk phenomena for the implementation of a surrounding refractive index (SRI) sensor. The selective inscription of a tilted fiber Bragg grating (TFBG) intentionally increases the inter-core crosstalk between the inscribed cores and makes it sensitive to the SRI. With this technique we simplify the measurement of the SRI and improve the identification and tracking of the excited cladding modes, as compared with the analysis of the transmission spectrum of a TFBG in single-core fibers. The proposed device is also sensitive to temperature. Temperature is obtained from the crosstalk wavelength shift with a measured sensitivity of 9.75 pm/°C. The SRI is obtained from the measurement of the crosstalk optical power. For increasing SRIs the cladding modes gradually fade, reducing the crosstalk optical power. We observed that the higher the tilt, the higher the sensor sensitivity. For a 7° TFBG the SRI sensitivity obtained is −74.2 dB/RIU from 1.31 to 1.39 and −250.8 dB/RIU from 1.39 to 1.44.

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