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Appl Opt. 2012 Oct 1;51(28):6886-95. doi: 10.1364/AO.51.006886.

Self-repairing, interferometric waveguide sensor with a large strain range.

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Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, North Carolina State University, Campus Box 7910, Raleigh, North Carolina 27695, USA.


We demonstrate a polymer waveguide, Fabry-Perot interferometer strain sensor fabricated through a self-writing process in a photopolymerizable resin bath between two silica optical fibers. The measurable strain range is extended through sensor self-repair and strain measurements are demonstrated up to 150% applied tensile strain. The sensor fabrication and repair is performed in the ultraviolet wavelength range, while the sensor interrogation is performed in the near-infrared wavelength range. A hybrid sensor is fabricated by splicing a short segment of multimode optical fiber to the input single-mode optical fiber. The hybrid sensor provides the high quality of waveguide fabrication previously demonstrated through self-writing between multimode optical fibers with the high fringe visibility of single-mode propagation. The peak frequency shift of the reflected spectrum Fabry-Perot sensor is extremely linear with applied strain for the hybrid sensor, with a sensitivity of 2.3×10(-3) per nanometer per percent strain. The calibrated peak frequency shift with applied strain is the same for both the original sensor and the repaired sensor; therefore, the fact that the sensor has self-repaired does not need to be known. Additionally, this calibration is the same between multiple sensor fabrications. In contrast to a conventional air gap Fabry-Perot cavity sensor, no decrease in the fringe visibility is observed over the measurable strain range.

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