Abstract

In an effort to reduce the cost of sensing systems and make them more compact and flexible, Brillouin scattering has been demonstrated as a useful tool, especially for distributed temperature and strain sensing (DTSS), with a resolution of a few centimeters over several tens of kilometers of fiber. However, sensing is limited by the Brillouin frequency shift’s sensitivity to these parameters, which are of the order of 1.3MHz/°C and of 0.05MHz/με for standard fiber. In this Letter, we demonstrate a new and simple technique for enhancing the sensitivity of sensing by using higher-orders Stokes shifts with stimulated Brillouin scattering (SBS). By this method, we multiply the sensitivity of the sensor by the number of the Stokes order used, enhanced by six-fold, therefore reaching a sensitivity of 7MHz/°C, and potentially 0.30MHz/με. To do this, we place the test fiber within a cavity to produce a frequency comb. Based on a reference multiorder SBS source for heterodyning, this system should provide a new distributed sensing technology with significantly better resolution at a potentially lower cost than currently available DTSS systems.

© 2014 Optical Society of America

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