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Rev Sci Instrum. 2018 Apr;89(4):045008. doi: 10.1063/1.4999806.

Performance of the fiber-optic low-coherent ground settlement sensor: From lab to field.

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College of Physics and Optoelectronic Engineering, Dalian University of Technology, Dalian 116024, China.
Bridge and Tunnel Research and Development Center, Dalian University of Technology, Dalian 116024, China.
Institute of Surveying Mapping and Geoinformation, China Railway Design Corporation, Tianjin 300142, China.


A fiber-optic low-coherent interferometry sensor was developed to measure the ground settlement (GS) in an accuracy of the micrometer. The sensor combined optical techniques with liquid-contained chambers that were hydraulically connected together at the bottom by using a water-filled tube. The liquid surface inside each chamber was at the same level initially. The optical interferometry was employed to read out the liquid level changes, which following the GS happened at the place where the chamber was put on and, thereby, the GS information was calculated. The laboratory effort had demonstrated its potential in the practical application. Here, the denoising algorithms on the measurement signal were carried out based on the specific environment to ensure the accuracy and stability of the system in field applications. After that, we extended this technique to the high-speed railway. The 5-days continuous measurement proved that the designed system could be applied to monitor the GS of the high-speed railway piers and approached an accuracy of ±70 μm in the field situation with a reference compensation sensor. So the performance of the sensor was suitable to the GS monitoring problem in the high-speed railway. There, the difficulties were to meet the monitoring requirement of both a large span in space and its quite tiny and slow changes.


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