Acoustic Waveguides and Sensors for High Temperature and Gamma Radiation Environment
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Sensing in harsh environments is always in great need. Although many sensors and sensing systems are reported, such as optical fiber sensors and acoustic sensors, they all have drawbacks. In this dissertation, fused quartz and sapphire acoustic waveguides and sensors are developed for high temperature and heavy gamma radiation. The periodic structure, acoustic fiber Bragg grating (AFBG), is the core sensor structure in this dissertation. To better analyze the propagation of acoustic waves, the acoustic coupled more analysis is proposed. It could solve for the reflection spectrum of the AFBG with at most 2.1% error. For the waveguide, the fused quartz "suspended core" waveguide is designed. It achieved strong acoustic energy confinement so surface perturbations no longer affected the wave propagation. Single crystal sapphire fiber features low acoustic loss, and survivability under high temperature. It is also chosen as an acoustic waveguide. AFBGs are fabricated in both waveguides. The fused quartz suspended core AFBG is shown to sense temperature up to 1000 C and to have stable reading at 700 C for 14 days. The sapphire AFBG as a temperature sensor works up to 1500 C and also provides continuous stable reading at 1100 C for 12 days. Both waveguides with AFBGs are then tested under long-term gamma radiation. Despite some fluctuations from radiation-related causes, the readings of both sensors generally remain stable. Given the experimental observations, the fused quartz AFBG waveguide and the sapphire AFBG waveguide are shown to work well in high temperature and gamma radiations.
General Audience Abstract
Sensing in harsh environments, like high temperature, high pressure, and corrosive environment, is always in great need. Efficient and safe operation of instruments like nuclear reactors could be better secured. Although many sensors and sensing systems are reported, such as optical fiber sensors and acoustic sensors, they all have drawbacks so new designs are constantly in need.newline In this dissertation, silica (a glass commonly acquired by melting sand) and sapphire (used in iphone screens due to its transparency and hardness) acoustic waveguides and sensors are developed. A periodic structure known as acoustic fiber Bragg grating (AFBG) is the core sensor structure in this dissertation. A calculation method is proposed first. Acoustic wave needs a waveguide to propagate somewhere further, and a new waveguide structure is made to keep the acoustic energy within the very center of the waveguide, so any change on the outer surface does not affect the wave inside. Also, sapphire has good acoustic property and is used. The AFBGs are fabricated in both waveguides. These sensing waveguides are shown to work at >1000 C temperature and provide stable reading for more than 10 days. Long term exposure to gamma radiation for weeks or months resulted in stable performances. Therefore, it is concluded that silica and sapphire waveguide sensors are successfully developed for high temperature and nuclear radiation applications.
- Doctoral Dissertations