Abstract

This Letter describes a compact optical path scanner for decoding fiber-optic interferometers. The active component of the scanner is a segment of liquid sealed in a fused silica hollow fiber. When the volume of the liquid is changed by an attached thermoelectric cooler, one end facet of the liquid moves along the hollow fiber, and the optical path of the light reflected by the end facet is thus tuned, with a continuous tuning range of a few hundred micrometers. We used the optical path scanner for demodulating the optical path difference of a Fabry–Perot interferometric sensor, and the resulted decoding accuracy is 14 nm over a measurement range of 50μm. The compact optical path scanner has the advantages of compact size, high precision, flexible scanning range, low cost, insensitivity to vibration, and ease of fabrication.

© 2010 Optical Society of America

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