Exploitation of fibre characteristics in temperature sensing and radio-over-fibre applications
The development of sensing devices is one of the instrumentation fields that has grown rapidly in the last decade. Corresponding to the swift advance in the development of microelectronic sensors, optical fibre sensors are widely investigated because of their advantageous properties over the electronics sensors such as their wavelength multiplexing capability and high sensitivity to temperature, pressure, strain, vibration and acoustic emission. Moreover, optical fibre sensors are more attractive than the electronics sensors as they can perform distributed sensing, in terms of covering a reasonably large area using a single piece of fibre. Apart from being a responsive element in the sensing field, optical fibre possesses good assets in generating, distributing, processing and transmitting signals in the future broadband information network. These assets include wide bandwidth, high capacity and low loss that grant mobility and flexibility for wireless access systems. Among these core technologies, the fibre optic signal processing and transmission of optical and radio frequency signals have been the subjects of study in this thesis. Based on the intrinsic properties of single-mode optical fibre, this thesis aims to exploit the fibre characteristics such as thermal sensitivity, birefringence, dispersion and nonlinearity, in the applications of temperature sensing and radio-over-fibre systems. By exploiting the fibre thermal sensitivity, a fully distributed temperature sensing system consisting of an apodised chirped fibre Bragg grating has been implemented. The proposed system has proven to be efficient in characterising grating and providing the information of temperature variation, location and width of the heat source applied in the area under test.To exploit the fibre birefringence, a fibre delay line filter using a single high-birefringence optical fibre structure has been presented. The proposed filter can be reconfigured and programmed by adjusting the input azimuth of launched light, as well as the strength and direction of the applied coupling, to meet the requirements of signal processing for different purposes in microwave photonic and optical filtering applications. To exploit the fibre dispersion and nonlinearity, experimental investigations have been carried out to study their joint effect in high power double-sideband and single-sideband modulated links with the presence of fibre loss. The experimental results have been theoretically verified based on the in-house implementation of the split-step Fourier method applied to the generalised nonlinear Schrödinger equation. Further simulation study on the inter-modulation distortion in two-tone signal transmission has also been presented so as to show the effect of nonlinearity of one channel on the other. In addition to the experimental work, numerical simulations have also been carried out in all the proposed systems, to ensure that all the aspects concerned are comprehensively investigated.