A fiber optic polarimeter for use in chemical analysis

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Virginia Tech

Polarimetry, as applied to chemical analysis, deals with the determination of the extent and direction that an optically active chemical species will rotate incident linearly polarized light. Although well developed for physical sensing, the technique of fiber optic polarimetry for chemical sensing remains in its infancy. This thesis is concerned with the design and development of an optical fiber polarimeter which measures the optical rotation of linearly polarized light that occurs in a sensing region between two multi-mode optical fibers. Over short distances, the polarization preserving capabilities of large-core multi-mode optical fibers were investigated. Polarimetric analyses were performed using sucrose and quinine hydrochloride. The instrument has a resolution of 0.08·, and is an excellent platform for an LC or FIA detector. Its more intriguing future lies in evanescent field sensor applications and studies of chiroptical surface interactions.