Resonant cavity Fibre Bragg grating sensor interrogation
This thesis presents a novel high-performance approach to time-division-multiplexing (TDM) fibre Bragg grating (FBG) optical sensors, known as the resonant cavity architecture. A background theory of FBG optical sensing includes several techniques for multiplexing sensors. The limitations of current wavelength-division-multiplexing (WDM) schemes are contrasted against the technological and commercial advantage of TDM. The author’s hypothesis that ‘it should be possible to achieve TDM FBG sensor interrogation using an electrically switched semiconductor optical amplifier (SOA)’ is then explained. Research and development of a commercially viable optical sensor interrogator based on the resonant cavity architecture forms the remainder of this thesis. A fully programmable SOA drive system allows interrogation of sensor arrays 10km long with a spatial resolution of 8cm and a variable gain system provides dynamic compensation for fluctuating system losses. Ratiometric filter- and diffractive-element spectrometer-based wavelength measurement systems are developed and analysed for different commercial applications. The ratiometric design provides a low-cost solution that has picometre resolution and low noise using 4% reflective sensors, but is less tolerant to variation in system loss. The spectrometer design is more expensive, but delivers exceptional performance with picometre resolution, low noise and tolerance to 13dB system loss variation. Finally, this thesis details the interrogator’s peripheral components, its compliance for operation in harsh industrial environments and several examples of commercial applications where it has been deployed. Applications include laboratory instruments, temperature monitoring systems for oil production, dynamic control for wind-energy and battery powered, self-contained sub-sea strain monitoring.