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Opt Express. 2017 Dec 11;25(25):31362-31376. doi: 10.1364/OE.25.031362.

Coherence-length-gated distributed optical fiber sensing based on microwave-photonic interferometry.


This paper presents a new optical fiber distributed sensing concept based on coherent microwave-photonics interferometry (CMPI), which uses a microwave modulated coherent light source to interrogate cascaded interferometers for distributed measurement. By scanning the microwave frequencies, the complex microwave spectrum is obtained and converted to time domain signals at known locations by complex Fourier transform. The amplitudes of these time domain pulses are a function of the optical path differences (OPDs) of the distributed interferometers. Cascaded fiber Fabry-Perot interferometers (FPIs) fabricated by femtosecond laser micromachining were used to demonstrate the concept. The experimental results indicated that the strain measurement resolution can be better than 0.6 µε using a FPI with a cavity length of 1.5 cm. Further improvement of the strain resolution to the nε level is achievable by increasing the cavity length of the FPI to over 1m. The tradeoff between the sensitivity and dynamic range was also analyzed in detail. To minimize the optical power instability (either from the light source or the fiber loss) induced errors, a single reflector was added in front of an individual FPI as an optical power reference for the purpose of compensation.


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