Sapphire Fiber Optic Sensor for High Temperature Measurement

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Virginia Tech

This dissertation focuses on developing new technologies for ultra-low-cost sapphire fiber-optic high-temperature sensors. The research is divided into three major parts, the souceless sensor, the simple Fabry-Perot (F-P) interrogator, and the sensor system.

Chapter 1 briefly reviews the background of thermal radiation, fiber optic F-P sensors, and F-P signal demodulation. The research goal is highlighted.

In Chapter 2, a temperature sensing system is introduced. The environmental thermal radiation was used as the broadband light source. A sapphire wafer F-P temperature sensor head was fabricated, with an alumina cap designed to generate a stable thermal radiation field. The radiation-induced optical interference pattern was observed. We demodulated the temperature sensor by white-light-interferometry (WLI). Temperature resolution better than 1°C was achieved.

Chapter 3 discusses a novel approach to demodulate an optical F-P cavity at low-cost. A simple interrogator is demonstrated, which is based on the scanning-white-light-interferometry (S-WLI). The interrogator includes a piece of fused silica wafer, and a linear CCD array, to transform the F-P demodulation from the optical frequency domain to the spatial domain. By using the light divergence of an optical fiber, we projected a tunable reference F-P cavity onto an intensity distribution along a CCD array. A model for S-WLI demodulation was established. Performance of the new S-WLI interrogator was investigated. We got a good resolution similar to the well-known traditional WLI.

At last, we were able to combine the above two technologies to a sapphire-wafer-based temperature sensor. The simple silica wafer F-P interrogator was optimized by focusing light to the image sensor. This approach improves the signal to noise ratio, hence allows the new integrator to work with the relatively weak thermal radiation field. We, therefore, proved in the experiment, the feasibility of the low-cost sourceless optical Fabry-Perot temperature sensor with a simple demodulation system.

Sapphire Fiber, Fabry-Perot, Interferometer, Thermal Radiation, Interrogator, Temperature Sensor