Optical fibre sensors and their interrogation
This thesis describes novel developments in the fabrication and understanding of type IA fibre Bragg gratings, the uses of said gratings as optical sensors and the interrogation of optical sensors using tilted fibre Bragg gratings. This thesis presents the most detailed study of type IA gratings performed to date and provides the basis of a dual grating optical sensor capable of independently measuring strain and temperature. Until this work it was not known how to reliably fabricate type IA gratings or how they would react to high ambient temperatures, nor was it known what effect external parameters such as fibre type, dopant levels, inscription laser intensity, or hydrogenation levels would have on the physical properties of the grating. This comprehensive study has yielded answers to all of these unknowns and produced several unexpected uses for type IA gratings, such as the use of the previously unreported strong loss band at 1400nm to locally heat fibres by optical absorption and thereby fabricate optically tuneable gratings which do not affect directly adjacent standard gratings. Blazed fibre Bragg gratings have been studied in detail and used to produce several high quality prototype sensor interrogation systems yielding stability an accuracy values unsurpassed by similar devices reported in literature. An accurate distribution map of light radiated by blazed gratings is shown for the first time and has been studied in respect of polarisation state showing that for certain easily achievable conditions a blazed grating spectrometer may be deemed to be polarisation insensitive. In a novel implementation of the system, it is shown that the dynamic wavelength range of a blazed grating spectrometer may be at least doubled by superimposing blazed gratings.