Optical Fiber Technology 9 (2003) 57–79 www.elsevier.


Invited paper

Review of the present status of optical fiber sensors
Byoungho Lee
School of Electrical Engineering, Seoul National University, Kwanak-Gu Shinlim-Dong, Seoul 151-744, South Korea Received 28 August 2002

Abstract The current status of optical fiber sensors is reviewed. The optical fiber sensors have certain advantages that include immunity to electromagnetic interference, lightweight, small size, high sensitivity, large bandwidth, and ease in implementing multiplexed or distributed sensors. Strain, temperature and pressure are the most widely studied measurands and the fiber grating sensor represents the most widely studied technology for optical fiber sensors. Fiber-optic gyroscopes and fiber-optic current sensors are good examples of rather mature and commercialized optical fiber sensor technologies. In this paper, among the various fiber-optic sensor technologies, especially, technologies such as fiber grating sensors, fiber-optic gyroscopes, and fiber-optic current sensors are discussed with emphasis on the principles and current status. Today, some success has been found in the commercialization of optical fiber sensors. However, in various fields they still suffer from competition with other mature sensor technologies. However, new ideas are being continuously developed and tested not only for the traditional measurands but also for new applications.  2003 Elsevier Science (USA). All rights reserved.
Keywords: Optical fiber sensor; Fiber grating; Fiber-optic gyroscope; Optical fiber current sensor

1. Introduction Almost thirty years have passed since the study of optical fiber sensors began. Various ideas have been proposed and various techniques have been developed for various measurands and applications. To date, some types of optical fiber sensors have been commercialized, but it is also true that, among the various techniques that have been studied, only a limited number of techniques and applications have been commercially successful. Optical fiber sensors have advantages such as immunity to electromagnetic interference
E-mail address: byoungho@snu.ac.kr. 1068-5200/03/$ – see front matter  2003 Elsevier Science (USA). All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/S1068-5200(02)00527-8


B. Lee / Optical Fiber Technology 9 (2003) 57–79

Fig. 1. Distribution of OFS-15 papers according to measurands. Papers not directly related to measurands, such as those that discuss fiber grating sensor interrogators, multiplexing, light sources, etc., are not included in the statistics. If one paper deals with more than one measurand, the counted paper number is equally divided among the measurands. Special session papers on fiber-optic gyroscopes are included in the statistics.

(EMI), lightweight, small size, high sensitivity, large bandwidth, and ease in signal light transmission. However, in many fields of application, optical fiber sensors should compete with other rather mature technologies such as electronic measurements. To appeal to users already accustomed to other mature technologies, the superiority of optical fiber sensors over other techniques needs to be clearly demonstrated. Typical users are not interested in specific techniques involved in measurement. They simply desire sensor systems having good performances with reasonable price except for very special uses. Hence, optical fiber sensor systems should be available in the form of complete systems including detecting and signal-processing electronics. In some cases such as electric protection relaying systems, the sensor systems are simply subsystems of rather larger systems. In some cases such as optical gyroscopes and optical current sensors, the optical fiber sensors should compete with other optical bulk sensors as well. Even with these difficulties, considerable efforts have been made to study of optical fiber sensors, and some of them are now nearing maturity. There have been excellent review books and articles on optical fiber sensors such as Refs. [1–5]. It is impossible to review all of the fiber-optic sensor technologies in a journal article with a limited length. In this paper, the current status of some of the actively studied or well-developed optical fiber sensors will be reviewed. Figure 1 shows the distribution of papers presented at the 15th Optical Fiber Sensors Conference (OFS15: IEEE catalog number 02EX533) according to measurands of interest. The conference was held in Portland, Oregon, USA in May 2002, and is a major conference in the field of

other sensors are briefly discussed.B. The most highly discussed measurands are strain and temperature. which is followed by some concluding remarks. Hence the statistics of OFS-15 provide information on recent research trends in the area of optical fiber sensors. Distribution of OFS-15 papers according to technologies. 2. Lee / Optical Fiber Technology 9 (2003) 57–79 59 Fig. the counted paper number is equally divided among the technologies. dispersion compensators. Special session papers on fiber-optic gyroscopes (FOGs) are included in the statistics. Fiber grating sensors are clearly the most widely studied topic. intensive study on fiber gratings began after a controllable and effective method for their fabrication was devised in 1989 [8]. Fiber grating sensors Although the formation of fiber gratings had been reported in 1978 [7]. In Sections 3 and 4 two rather mature topics—fiber-optic gyroscopes (FOGs) and fiber-optic current sensors—are reviewed. A long-period fiber grating (LPG) can couple the forward propagating core mode to one or a few of the forward propagating cladding modes. the same as in the conference of five years ago [6]. In Section 5. is reviewed. Figure 3 shows types of fiber gratings. If one paper deals with more than one technology. optical fiber sensors. Extensive studies have also been performed on fiber grating sensors and some of which have now reached commercialization stages. Under phase matching conditions. In Section 2 fiber grating sensor technology. a fiber Bragg grating (FBG) couples the forward propagating core mode to the backward propagating core mode. Figure 2 shows the technologies involved in the optical fiber sensors presented at OFS-15. A chirped fiber grating has a wider reflection spectrum and each wavelength component is reflected at different po- . Fiber gratings have been applied to add/drop filters. amplifier gain flattening filters. 2. fiber lasers and so on for optical communications [4]. which is the most popular topic in optical fiber sensors.

A tilted fiber grating can couple the forward propagating core mode to the backward propagating core mode and a backward propagating cladding mode. (1) . or the wavelength of the light that is reflected. A sampled fiber grating can reflect several wavelength components with equal wavelength spacing. FBGs are the most widely used as sensor heads.60 B. however. In FBGs the Bragg wavelength λB . (d) tilted fiber grating. Among them. (b) long-period fiber grating. 3. All these types of gratings have been utilized in various types of fiber grating sensors and wavelength change interrogators. sitions. (e) sampled fiber grating. Types of fiber gratings. is given by λB = 2neff Λ. which results in a delay time difference for different reflected wavelengths. (a) Fiber Bragg grating. Lee / Optical Fiber Technology 9 (2003) 57–79 Fig. (c) chirped fiber grating.

. A straight forward and very practical approach is to use a reference grating [11]. The typical temperature response is ∼6. the interrogators are typically expected to read the wavelength shift and provide measurand data.B. and ∼13 pm/◦ C near 1550 nm [9] although the values depend on FBG types [10]. [4].2 pm/µε near 1550 nm [9]. and hence.g. As discussed above. Considerable effort has been focused on this topic and various solutions have been proposed. Not all of them are appropriate for commercialized systems. is placed near the sensor FBG. Civic structures such as bridges require the measurement of dynamic strain. dynamic range or multiplexing. ∼10 pm/◦ C near 1300 nm. Another FBG (the reference grating). Some are quite simple but are more limited in measurement resolution. two light sources are needed). The unit of strain is ε. the strain is 1 µm/1 m = 1 µε. (1) it can be seen that the Bragg wavelength is changed with a change in the grating period or the effective refractive index. Table 1 summarizes interrogator types and Table 2 summarizes their performances [17–62]. strain. Hence their effects need to be separated from each other. ∼1 pm/µε near 1300 nm. while the temperature responses are the same [14. FBGs written on different-diameter fibers have also been proposed.) This wavelength-encoded measurand information is a unique characteristic of FBGs. which is isolated from one parameter.15]. In addition to the common advantages of fiber sensors. The measurand is typically encoded in the form of a Bragg wavelength change. When . and some are more complicated and provide better resolution but are more expensive or need stabilization. Demodulators or interrogators are required for FBG sensors. Hence multi-point sensors can be realized using this technique. and ∼1. In Eq. Sometimes WDM is combined with spatial division multiplexing (SDM). Their roles are to extract measurand information from the light signals coming from the sensor heads. FBGs respond to both strain and temperature. The typical response of the Bragg wavelength shift to strain is ∼0. Lee / Optical Fiber Technology 9 (2003) 57–79 61 where neff is the effective refractive index of the fiber core and Λ is the grating period. if a 1-mlong fiber is elongated by 1 µm. Optical spectrum analyzers are not suitable for real sensor systems because they are expensive and their wavelength scanning speed is too slow. Another method is to use two FBGs with much different Bragg wavelengths (in general. (These FBG types should not be confused with fiber grating types of Fig. e. The reference grating can be on the same fiber as the sensor FBG [12]. It is a relative concept. which give different strain responses. Many of these are laboratory experiment results. it must be admitted that multi-point FBG sensors are not fully-distributed sensors such as backscattering sensors or optical time-domain reflectometers (OTDRs) because physical parameters can be measured only at the FBG positions. Detailed information can be found in Ref. in order to measure each physical parameter or to measure both simultaneously. time division multiplexing (TDM) and code division multiple access (CDMA) techniques. The grating period can also be changed with temperature variation. that is. 3. this wavelength-encoded characteristic provides robustness to noise or power fluctuation and also enables wavelength division multiplexing (WDM). which is read as “strain”. Various techniques have been developed for the interrogators [16]. but around room temperature the effect of temperature on refractive index is about one order of magnitude larger than that of thermal expansion (or contraction). which show different responses to the same measurands [13].64 pm/µε (µε = microstrain) near the Bragg wavelength of 830 nm. The former is the case for strain and the latter for temperature variation.8 pm/◦ C near 830 nm. However.

the minimum detectable strain is determined by the background noise-level.5 µε/√Hz 6 nε/√Hz 0. Lee / Optical Fiber Technology 9 (2003) 57–79 Table 1 Fiber grating sensor interrogator types Types Passive detection schemes Technologies Linearly wavelength-dependent device CCD spectrometer Power detection Identical chirped-grating pair Fabry–Perot filter Unbalanced Mach–Zehnder interferometer Fiber Fourier transform spectrometer Acousto-optic tunable filter Matched FBG pair Michelson interferometer LPG pair interferometer Wavelength-tunable source Mode-locked fiber laser with wavelength-time conversion Optical CDMA correlator Frequency modulation Intra-grating sensing References [17–21] [22–25] [26–29] [30] [31–33] [34–43] [44. Generally.45] [46–48] [49–52] [53] [54] [55–57] [58] [59.60] [61] [62] Active detection schemes Other schemes Table 2 Strain measurement resolution of some fiber grating sensor systems/interrogators Static/quasi-static resolution ±20 µε ∼12 µε 4.04 µε Dynamic resolution References (measurement range) [58] (> 3500 µε) [44] [49] [18] (∼16.12 µε ∼ ±3.25 µε 40 nε ±8.5 nε/√Hz ∼7 fε/ Hz the dynamic signal is measured. The magnitude of noise changes with the frequency span because the noise power in the detector and amplifying circuit depends on the frequency span.62 B.9 µε ±0.5 µε 3.5 µε/ Hz √ 5 nε/√Hz 7 pε/ Hz √ 42 nε/√Hz 10 nε/√Hz 10 nε/√Hz 2 nε/√Hz 1.5 µε ∼ ±3 µε 3 µε ±2 µε 1.000 µε) [40] (2 kHz) [20] (>1050 µε) [50] [32] (±1300 µε) [55] [25] [54] [56] (±1000 µε) [57] [43] [51] (> ±100 µε) [35] (>10 Hz) [42] (10–2000 Hz) [36] √ 1. the amount of noise magnitude in other bandwidths can be approximated by .

Some typical interrogators for FBG sensors. Figure 4 shows some typical types of interrogators. 4. BPF: band pass filter). PZT: piezoelectric transducer. √ the normalized minimum detectable dynamic strain is displayed in units of ε/ Hz. Thus. This structure is quite simple and has been commercialized. Figure 4a is an example of interrogators that use linearly wavelength-dependent devices (couplers or filters) [20]. In fact.B. scaling the power spectral density of the noise by the square root of the bandwidth. but it is not suitable for multiplexed sensors. The Bragg wavelength shift is monitored by the detected power change. Lee / Optical Fiber Technology 9 (2003) 57–79 63 (a) (b) Fig. (d) Unbalanced Mach–Zehnder interferometer (pseudo-heterodyne detection) method [37] (OPD: optical path length difference. . (c) Fabry–Perot filter method [32] (FFP: fiber Fabry–Perot filter). (a) Linearly wavelength-dependent device (coupler) method [20]. (b) CCD spectrometer method [24].

In Fig.64 B. 4. The structure shown in Fig. Lee / Optical Fiber Technology 9 (2003) 57–79 (c) (d) Fig. 4a to remove the light power (or loss) fluctuation effect. 4b adopts both WDM and SDM.) this type of power-detection method does not fully use one of the key advantages of FBG sensors—measurand information is coded as wavelength change and the information is not affected by fluctuations in light power. (Continued. a power-ratio detection technique is used. Figure 4b shows the CCD spectrometer interrogator [24]. Compared with other interrogators such . which takes advantage of the fact that the diffraction angle is dependent on the wavelength of the light incident on a diffraction grating.

a high signal-to-noise ratio can be obtained even with low input optical power. and railway systems [25.B. 5.71] show that the phase difference φ is given by 8πN A· . dams. Simple analyses [70. 4d and the interrogator should be well-stabilized. A the area vector of the fiber coil (Its magnitude is the area enclosed by the singleturn coil and direction is normal to it. generators. Some FBG sensors have been commercialized for structural monitoring [67] and oil/gas reservoir monitoring [68]. A one-dimensional CCD can be used instead of the twodimensional CCD if TDM is used instead of SDM [25]. in a 15. The basic principle is to locate the WDM Bragg wavelengths within the free spectral range of the Fabry–Perot filter and monitor their changes by spectrally-scanning the filter. Such sensors have been deployed in oil/gas wells—for example. U.015% full scale/year [68]. Figure 4d shows an unbalanced Mach–Zehnder interferometer interrogator system adopting a pseudo-heterodyne detection technique [37]. mines. 5000 psi for over two years with output drift within 0. as shown in Fig. [16]. which results in different travel times and a phase difference in the two optical waves. Like the output of typical interferometers. geotechnical fields. Fiber-optic gyroscopes It is generally recognized that the first demonstration of the FOG was achieved 27 years ago [69]. CiDRA’s FBG pressure/temperature sensor was reported to show good functionality at 150 ◦ C. A detailed description of the principle of operation can be found in Ref. two lights traveling in opposite directions in the coil experience different lengths. Figure 4c shows an example of the scanning fiber Fabry–Perot filter interrogator system. a reference grating for the interrogator system (this should not be confused with the reference grating for the sensor head to distinguish the temperature and strain effect) is required as shown in Fig. Lee / Optical Fiber Technology 9 (2003) 57–79 65 as those adopting scanning filters and TDM. if the operating point is at maxima (or minima) such as the point corresponding to φ = 0. However.S.43. (2) λc where N is the number of coil turns. the advantage of the CCD spectrometer interrogator is its light-effectiveness.63–66]. generally. and the rotating rate (angular frequency) vector. FBG sensors have been tested in various fields such as bridges. the dithering of the filter spectrum is adopted for a fine measurement in the case of a single FBG sensor and the zero-crossing of the time derivative of the received power is monitored in the case of WDM FBG sensors. composite laminates. For a rotating optical fiber coil. In the response curve. though there had been a few previous studies.). λ the wavelength in vacuum. 3. In real systems. For example. the output response of the FOG is a raised cosine function with respect to the phase difference. the sensitivity φ= . The basic concept is based on the Sagnac interferometer and is quite simple. The unbalanced Mach–Zehnder interferometer provides very high-resolution interrogation. airplanes. this interferometer is quite sensitive to its environment such as temperature change or even air fluctuation. c the speed of light in vacuum. that is. Hence. It is a good example of an application of special relativity.000-feet downhole [68]. Naval Research Laboratory tested this for a 64-FBG sensor system [32]. ship waterjets.

a dynamic phase modulation is done at one end of the fiber coil. which has a larger bandwidth than the PZT and allows a proper modulation for the feedback control. There are two types of basic configurations in which a FOG can be constructed. such that two lights that start at the coupler at the same time and rotate the fiber coil in opposite directions experience different optical path lengths within the phase modulator (such as a fiber wound around a piezoelectric transducer (PZT) tube) due to their different arrival times at the modulator [72].66 B. Hence. the fiber coil is rotating in the clockwise (CW) direction. Figure 6b shows such an example using an integrated optics chip (IOC) to modulate the phase. Lee / Optical Fiber Technology 9 (2003) 57–79 Fig. Principle of the fiber-optic gyroscope. The slowly varying noise can be induced by several sources and results in long-term drift or bias instability. This open-loop structure has a limited dynamic range [71]. In this figure. The white noise is expressed in terms of the standard deviation of the equivalent rotation rate per square root of bandwidth of detection (like the case of the dynamic strain measurement resolution of fiber grating sensors).74]. When a FOG is at rest. the output signal is a random function that is the sum of a white noise and a slowly varying function. the operating point is shifted to a position where the response slope is not zero. they should have entered the coil at different times at different points in the figure. In the closed-loop configuration a feedback signal is applied to null the output signal and maintain the operation of the system in the linear range [73. . in other words. is low and the rotational direction of the fiber coil cannot be distinguished due to the symmetric response. As shown in Fig. Different entering times mean different entering points because the fiber coil is rotating. This is accomplished by the use of a phase modulator placed at the end of the fiber coil. for the CW and counter-clockwise (CCW) rotating lights to meet at the same exit point to interfere with each other. the equivalent noise power spectral density in the √ unit of deg /h/ Hz. The IOC is typically a lithium niobate modulator. The white noise causes noise in measured rotation rate output and √ results in an angle random walk (ARW) in the unit of deg / h. 6a. The photon shot noise is an important source of white noise and limits the fundamental accuracy of the FOG. 5. one is an open-loop configuration and the other is a closed-loop configuration. Hence.

. Currently.B. (a) Open-loop type (SLD: superluminescent diode. PM: phase modulation). One important advantage of the FOG is its ruggedness. (b) An example of a closed-loop type (IOC: integrated optics chip modulator). It contains no moving parts unlike other competitors such as mechanical gyroscopes and ring laser gyroscopes (dithering is involved in ring laser gyroscopes). Due to these unique advantages. As can be seen in Fig. Lee / Optical Fiber Technology 9 (2003) 57–79 67 (a) (b) Fig. it seems likely that the FOG will play a significant role in both military and commercial markets. 6. Basic configurations of FOG. The performance of a FOG has been continuously improved and is now quite mature and capable of meeting the most accurate gyroscope requirements. FOGs are considered to be the most cost-efficient solution for various inertial navigation applications. the FOG has competing technologies such as mechanical gyroscopes and ring laser gyroscopes. The cost of the FOG has been constantly falling in recent years thanks to economies of scale and the dramatic explosion in the optical fiber communications market (component prices are decreasing) [75]. 7.

marine. and automotive navigation systems [71. the deregulation and growth of independent power producers and regional transmission companies have created a need for many new . Such a system can immediately recognize any sudden failures. and submarine navigation systems. such as a surge. Hence. FOGs have been developed by many companies and have been sold or applied in various fields such as commercial aircraft attitude heading reference systems.0001 deg/h and an ARW of ∼80 √ µdeg/ h [76] and Ixsea manufactures high-level performance FOGs with a temperature bias stability better than 0. FOG: fiber-optic gyroscope. RLG: ring-laser gyroscope. compasses for tunnel construction. Moreover.75–81]. 4. referred to as current transformers or current transducers (CTs).68 B. military helicopters. Some recent reports indicate that Honeywell Space Systems currently manufactures high-precision FOGs with a flicker noise below 0. Most CTs currently in use are electromagnetic devices that suffer from magnetic saturation effects and residual field effects. DTG: dynamically tuned gyroscope (mechanical type). and separate the failure parts from the power systems. with the superincrease in voltages (several hundred kV) in power distribution systems. the insulation of the CTs becomes more difficult and expensive.001 deg/ h [75]. AHRS: attitude heading reference systems). Fiber-optic current sensors With the growth in the capacity of electric power systems. In addition to protection relaying systems. power. missile guidance systems. optical current sensors that do not suffer from electromagnetic interference are good substitutes for conventional CTs. These relaying systems require current sensors.01 deg/h (0. Comparison of gyroscope technologies and applications (MEMS: micro-electro-mechanical system technology. Lee / Optical Fiber Technology 9 (2003) 57–79 Fig. 7. and communication cables). the role of protection relaying systems is becoming more important.003 deg/h at ambient) for a noise level of √ 0. pipe-mapping (gas. rockets.

13 × 10−4 deg/Oe cm (at 633 nm). which states that the polarization of light waves is rotated with the propagation of the light along (or opposite to) a magnetic field inside some material.6 A/m. Although the concept is quite simple.83. the sensitivity is reduced by a factor of 0.5% (−20–80 ◦ C)}. However. which results in the rotation of the linear polarization angle in proportion to the enclosed current and the number of fiber turns. Some examples of characteristics of bulk devices are as follows—{material. Moreover. less insertion loss. The magnetic field induced around a currentcarrying element induces a circular birefringence inside the optical fiber coil. Verdet constant [deg/Oe cm] at wavelength [µm]. and a higher signal-to-noise ratio. in actual implementation. The concept of the optical CTs is quite old [83.2 × 10−4 deg/Oe cm (at 850 nm) to 2. it has a difficulty in practice because the annealing is generally done after the winding process of the fiber coil. < ±0.217. Compared with the bulk devices. the effect of linear birefringence variation can be minimized [87]. temperature coefficient}: {Flint (Pb) glass. 1. but the optical path length can be increased to compensate for it by winding the fiber around a current conducting element a large number of turns. < ±15% (−25–85 ◦ C)}. Optical fibers have some linear birefringence due to the imperfection of the core shape. which may distort the output signals of optical fiber CTs. {FR-5 glass. exists.27 at 1. Although the bulk-optic CTs provide better mechanical stability and smaller sizes. In some applications. high-current-carrying conductors vibrate. The linear polarization can be expressed mathematically as a superposition of two circular polarizations (right-hand and left-hand). Lee / Optical Fiber Technology 9 (2003) 57–79 69 high voltage revenue-metering points [82].85 or 1.1 × 10−3 at 0.31 × 10−2 at 0. optical fiber CTs provide ease in forming a closed-loop (to make the sensor respond only to the enclosed current). In optical fiber CTs. Tokyo Electric Power Company has been developing current sensors using flint . a relative phase difference between two circular polarization components is generated.0% (−25–85 ◦ C)}. This linear birefringence can be reduced considerably by annealing [85]. Bulk-optic CTs such as flint glass closed-loop type and crystalbased (Faraday cell) CTs have also been extensively studied and tested. adjustability of the sensitivity and dynamic range.5% uncertainty in metering may result in an uncertainty of millions of dollars per year at a high power metering location [82]. Several techniques have been proposed to cope with these problems. mechanical stress or strain and temperature variation on the linear birefringence are also critical. Here the Verdet constant indicates the rotation angle of the polarization per unit magnetic field per unit propagation length and 1 Oe = 79. But. {RIG. {YIG.0 at 0. < ±7. In the transfer of power from a generation company to a regional transmission company.B. Hence the potential use of optical CTs that provide high accuracy is promising. If a birefringence bias corresponding to 258-degree phase difference is applied. the effects of vibration. induced by bending of optical fiber around the current-carrying element. 0.21 × 10−2 at 0.85. linearly polarized optical waves are input to the optical fiber coil. 0. after passing through the coil. a 0.63. < ±0.84 × 10−3 at 0. Optical fiber CTs are not the only optical CTs. several difficulties that limit the resolution of the sensor systems are encountered. the Verdet constant of optical fibers is quite small.5% (−25–100 ◦ C)}.5% (−25–85 ◦ C)}. The vibration in such a direction to rotate the fiber coil is more critical because the fiber coil acts as a FOG in that case [86].30. < ±1. 7. 0. 0. An inevitable linear birefringence. Hence.85. {BGO.84] and based on the Faraday rotation effect.

8. the Faraday rotation angle is doubled. for its reflection type optical CT. 8.70 B. Hence if a light traveling along the fiber coil is reflected by a mirror and then travels back along the fiber coil. A simple and efficient way to reduce this effect is to use a reflection type structure as shown in Fig. Lee / Optical Fiber Technology 9 (2003) 57–79 Fig. Sagnac interferometer type optical . In most of the today’s optical fiber CTs these types of methods of increasing circular birefringence are in use. the linear birefringence and intentionally induced circular birefringence may vary with time due to vibration and temperature variation. The intentionally induced circular birefringence is reciprocal with the reversal of light propagation direction. in that it can be easily mounted around the currentcarrying element because one end of the fiber coil is open. glass fibers that show a low photoelastic coefficient (4. while the effect of the intentionally induced circular birefringence is cancelled.065 min/Oe cm) [88]. Toshiba reported that.5×10−10 cm2 /kg) and a high Verdet constant (∼0. A high birefringent spun fiber was also proposed for this application. thus reducing the effect of linear birefringence [89]. in which case the two orthogonal linear polarization components are switched at the Faraday rotator mirror and experience the same amount of phase delay (despite the linear birefringence) after the round trip [90. However. A recent report indicates that the system was successful in hammering and thermal shock tests for a differential current relaying system [86]. a Faraday rotator mirror can be utilized to minimize the linear birefringence effect.91]. but they suffer from higher loss. The structure has another advantage. Reflection-type fiber-optic current sensor. the effect of linear birefringence is also doubled. difficulty in splicing with other fibers and higher cost. In practice. in which a high circular birefringence is induced. which is pulled from a rotating silica preform during the fiber draw process [90]. The use of twisted optical fiber has also been proposed. while the Faraday rotation is nonreciprocal. the influence of mechanical shock from circuit breaker vibration of 8g (g = gravitational acceleration) was less than the rms value of the electronic noise [92]. However. if a conventional mirror is used.

25% within the temperature range of 40–90 ◦ C [96] and NxtPhase showed a linearity performance better than ±0. fiber CTs are also insensitive to reciprocal effects [93].B. which is based on the monitoring of the backscattering along the fiber. Several techniques that have been devised for FOGs can be applied in these optical fiber CTs. This structure enables the interferometer to be optimally biased at all times [95]. 5. An example [94] of a high-performance fiber-optic current sensor using technology developed for FOG (IOC: integrated optics chip modulator. Others Some other types of optical fiber sensors based on very simple concepts have been commercialized. One . Some examples include the displacement or pressure sensor based on the light coupling of two fibers. It typically provides sub-meter spatial resolution but improved techniques can provide mm-order resolution. More complicated methods such as optical frequency domain reflectometry have been studied to achieve mm or sub-millimeter (∼10 µm) spatial resolution [101]. 9. 9.2% accuracy over the ±500 kA range for a temperature range between 0 and 50 ◦ C [94]. and the temperature sensor based on the detection of radiation from a heated sensor head (blackbody cavity) [98]. Some other recent reports indicate that Siemens has tested an optical fiber CT with an annealed fiber coil for a generator with a measurement accuracy error below 0. Insensitivity of the sensor to temperature within 0.2% was demonstrated between −35 and 85 ◦ C.2% from 0. One of the most well-developed and commercialized in-line fiber sensors or diagnostic tools is OTDR. The concept is also quite old [99] and the OTDR has become a standard technique for testing optical fiber links [100]. While OTDRs are generally aimed at monitoring optical fiber communication links. EPFL has achieved ±0. Lee / Optical Fiber Technology 9 (2003) 57–79 71 Fig. ABB Corporate Research has developed a robust fiber-optic current sensor with inherent temperature compensation of the Faraday rotation effect [97].5 to 120% of the rated current [82]. active research has also been done on distributed sensors for civil structure monitoring. With the structure shown in Fig. the pressure sensor using a wiggled (periodically bent) fiber. The Sagnac structure using a 3 × 3 fiber optic coupler was also tested. PC: polarization controller). the liquid-level sensor based on frustrated total internal reflection.

The principles are based on the monitoring of absorbance. which shows a dynamic range of 0–3000 psi with ±1. An acoustic wave couples two counter-propagating beams. In many cases optical fibers are simply used to guide light to the measurement point in the specimen. luminescence. 6. reflective index change. reflectance.109]. Cryogenic temperature sensing is also an attractive field for fiber-optic sensors [108]. which are frequency-shifted by an amount that is dependent on temperature or strain. resolution of up to 2 µm) [107].113]. A fiber optic pressure sensor using the fiber Fabry–Perot interferometer method was also commercialized. In some other cases well-developed sensor technologies such as FBG temperature sensors have been used for biological tests [111]. pH. a temperature transducer (range: −40 to 350 ◦ C. detergents. There are other examples of commercialized sensors using Fabry–Perot interferometers (or thin film Fizeau interferometers) and white-light crosscorrelators: a force and load transducer (load capacity: 4500 kg. As soon as optical fibers were developed. An example of a commercialized fiber biosensor is the invivo blood pressure sensor that uses the white light interferometry (pressure range: 500 mm Hg to 1060 mm Hg. As discussed in Section 2. the history of research in optical fiber sensors is almost as old as the history of optical fiber communication research. and humidity [5. ammonia. carbon dioxide. it was concluded that they could also be used for sensors.0% (of full range) accuracy and ±0. Optical fiber acoustic sensors or optical fiber hydrophone systems have also been intensively studied and tested for marine or submarine applications [104]. or light scattering and aimed at the measurement of oxygen. pesticides. an LPG can couple the core mode to a cladding mode. A commercialized distributed temperature and strain monitoring system shows the measurement range of up to 20 km with a spatial resolution of 0. A good example of optical fiber chemical sensors in which the fiber itself plays a key role in the measurement is the use of LPGs [112. If the coating or jacket is removed from the optical fiber.5–1% of full scale). The principle is based on the stimulated Brillouin scattering.5% (of full range) linearity [106]. resolution: 0. a displacement transducer (linear stroke: 20 mm. the evanescent field of the cladding mode that exists outside the cladding experiences the refractive index change of the outside material.72 B. Fiber-optic chemical sensors or biosensors have been continuously studied. Concluding remarks In this paper the current status of optical fiber sensors has been briefly reviewed. Optical fiber sensors have unique advantages such . a strain resolution of 20 µε (measurement range of up to 25 mε) and a temperature resolution of 1 ◦ C [103].5 to ±1 ◦ C or 0. The dynamic range of the commercialized deformation sensor using the method is of the order of a few tens of mε for elongation (∼5 mε for shortening) [103]. strain gauges (range: ±500 to ±5000 µε. The sensitivity can be adjusted by fiber etching [114]. In some cases optical fibers are monitoring the response of a material deposited on the end of the fiber [110]. accuracy: ±0. precision: ±1 mm Hg or ±1% of reading) [107]. Hence. Lee / Optical Fiber Technology 9 (2003) 57–79 example is a distributed temperature sensor for monitoring concrete setting temperatures of a large dam [102].01% of full scale).8 m over 1 km (2–5 m at 10 km and 5–15 m at 20 km). Fiber-optic lowcoherence interferometry has also been commercialized for civil applications [105].01% of full scale). resolution: 0. biochemical oxygen demand.

temperature. fueled by economic recovery in more mature applications such as process control. industrial machinery. they have been continuously and enthusiastically studied. It says the 2004 sales will be only 35% of the peak in 2000. and the ability to provide multiplexed or distributed sensing. FOGs. FBGs provide a unique characteristic of multi-point EMI-resistant measurement. switching. and General Electric has employed an aggressive strategy for entering the sensor’s arena such as temperature. FOGs are considered as the most costefficient solution for various inertial navigation applications. which is greatly dependent on the optical communication market. FBGs have strong competitors such as arrayed-waveguide gratings and thin-film filters. The sensor forecast of 2006– 2011 published in April of 2002 by the Freedonia Group predicts that U. and computing will grow to $400 millions by 2006 [116]. the number of papers on optical fiber sensors published in the journals listed in Scientific Citation . Optical current and voltage sensors became to be installed in real power industry [120]. Strategies Unlimited predicts that the optical component market will start the recovery from 2003. However. gas.B. small size. Some other analyst groups predict more rapid economic recovery. pressure. these trends are encouraging to the researchers in the field of optical fiber sensors. immunity to EMI. Lee / Optical Fiber Technology 9 (2003) 57–79 73 as high sensitivity. market for sensors will grow at a healthy pace. At present. These forecasts are on the market related to optical communications. and optical fiber current sensors. But for WDM filter applications. and they have started to be deployed in civil and oil industry fields. Today. Although the sensors involved here are not confined to optical fiber sensors.S. robustness. However. Fiber grating sensors have been the most widely studied topic among various optical fiber sensor technologies. lightweight. and conventional automotive sensors. sensor journals. There are other rather mature optical fiber sensor technologies such as OTDRs. humidity. and pressure but also for new applications such as biosensors. Although the optical fiber sensors have not experienced the dramatic commercial success of optical fiber communications. In 2002. It also predicts that the fastest growth will occur in emerging areas such as microelectro-mechanical systems and telematics. FBGs have been shipping for WDM devices since 1997 [119]. The OTDR has become a standard technique in optical communication line fault monitoring. power engineering journals. Papers on optical fiber sensors have already begun to appear in many fieldapplication journals such as civil engineering journals. and bioengineering journals. New ideas are continuously being proposed and tested for not only various traditional measurands such as strain. Some fiber grating sensors have been commercialized for civil health monitoring and oil industries. and that nearly all types of opto-electronic sensors including fiber optic sensors will exhibit healthy gains [116]. Recently Honeywell Automation and Control Solutions has signed an agreement to acquired Invensys Sensor Systems [117]. One of the gloomy forecasts predicts that the worldwide optical transport market will decline through the year of 2004 before resuming modest growth in 2005 (by Dell’Oro Group) [115]. chemical engineering journals. Several FBG vendors have recently exited the market [119]. the competitiveness of optical fiber sensors relies on the component cost reduction. and oxygen sensors [118]. for sensor applications. It also predicts that the market of integrated optics for multiplexing. Communications Industry Researchers (CIR) also predicts that the long haul market will start its recovery from 2003. the economic situation is not good.

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