Abstract

A low-loss, compact, and highly sensitive optical fiber curvature sensor is presented. The device consists of two identical low-loss fused fiber tapers in tandem separated by a distance L. When the optical fiber is kept straight and fixed, no interference pattern appears in the transmitted spectrum. However, when the device is bent, the symmetry of the straight taper is lost and the first taper couples light into the cladding modes. In the second taper, a fraction of the total light guided by the cladding modes will be coupled back to the fundamental mode, producing an interference pattern in the transmitted spectrum. As the fiber device is bent, visibility of the interference fringes grows, reaching values close to 1. The dynamic range of the device can be tailored by the proper selection of taper diameter and separation between tapers. The effects of temperature and refractive index of the external medium on the response of the curvature sensor is also discussed.

© 2011 Optical Society of America

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