High Speed Fiber Optic Spectrometer

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Virginia Tech


This dissertation presents the structure, operational principle and mathematical model of a novel high speed fiber optic spectrometer (HSFOS). In addition, the performance analysis is conducted and preliminary experimental results are listed and discussed. Such a spectrometer is highly desired by the ever-increasing applications of fiber optic sensors.

In the recent decades, a variety of fiber optic sensors have been proposed, built and tested. Compared to their electronic counterparts, fiber optic sensors although still under development, are preferred more by certain industrial and medical applications which benefit from their unique properties such as immunity to electromagnetic interference, ability to withstand harsh environments and composition of purely dielectric materials. In recent years, new fiber optic sensors have been designed for applications where high response frequency up to a few hundred KHz is required while advantages of high accuracy and large dynamic range must be maintained. The bottle neck then emerged in the signal demodulation part of the sensor system. The quadrature phase detection could achieve high demodulation speed but with small dynamic range, medium accuracy and measurement ambiguity. The white light interferometry could provide a solution for high accuracy and large dynamic range measurement without ambiguity because of its absolute measurement nature. However the signal demodulation speed is limited due to the low spectrum acquisition rate of the existing spectrometers.

The new HSFOS utilizes time domain dispersion of the sampled incoming light by dispersive fiber rather than the spatial dispersion employed by traditional spectrometers. In addition the signal that represents the spectrum of the light is naturally a serial signal which can be detected by a single detector and recorded by a high speed data acquisition device. Theoretical study of the operation principle is made and a mathematical model for the spectrometer is developed based on Marcuse's previous work. One major difference of the new derivation is that the propagation constant is expanded about the center circular frequency of each monochromatic light pulse instead of the center frequency of the chromatic light pulse which makes the physical picture of the chromatic light pulse evolution in a dispersive fiber clearer and facilitates both the analytical and numerical analysis. The profile of the dispersed chromatic light pulse could be treated as the superposition of all the dispersed monochromatic light pulses. Another major difference is the Taylor's series of the propagation constant is not truncated as it is in those previous work, which improves the accuracy of the model. Moreover, an approximate model is made which could further reduce the computation tasks in numerical simulations. Performance analysis for accuracy, resolution, speed and noise are conducted through numerical simulations based on the model and the experimental results. The sources of two different errors and their effects on accuracy are discussed respectively. The effects on spectral resolution by the properties of the modulation pulse and the fiber dispersion are studied. The results indicate that by using a rectangle modulation pulse under certain conditions, the resolution can be improved. The speed analysis gives that the spectrum acquisition rate can reach 1 million frames per second when the spectral width is less than 100 nm. In the noise analysis, the erbium-doped fiber amplifier (EDFA) is determined to be the dominant noise source. But by using two EDFAs, the overall signal to noise ratio is improved by 9.2 dB. The preliminary experimental results for FP sensor and FBG sensor signal demodulation are presented. The HSFOS for FP sensor signal demodulation achieves 15 nm resolution. By using the oversampling method, the HSFOS for FBG sensor signal demodulation achieves 0.05 nm spectral positioning resolution.



Spectrometer, Fiber Optic Sensor, Fiber Optics, Signal processing, Spectroscopy, Spectroscope, Spectrometry