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Distributed fiber optic sensors: common applications

FBG sensors and common applicationsCommon communication channels apply fibers in fiber optic sensors where laser beam light passes along haul distances. These fiber sensors allow for determining, controlling, and measuring external parameters in a distributed format. Herewith, the optical fiber in a fiber optic system operates both as a distributed transducer and optical channel.

To be more precise, the fiber optic sensors measure various changes on specific parameters along with the transducer. Such factors as the dynamic range and the spatial resolution play a crucial role in distributed sensing but still have to be improved. The operating principle of fiber optic systems is based on “the incident light wave that produces acoustic waves through the electrostriction effect. It induces a periodic modulation of the refractive index of material that evokes a light-backscattering like a fiber Bragg grating of FBGs.”

It should be noted that a fiber sensor or sensing system is a tool that determines, measures physical or chemical parameters. Herewith, in the case of light use in such systems, this is a photonic or optical sensor. The fiber optic sensors, in turn, consist of optical fibers and the fiber optic technology around them.

Distributed fiber optic sensors detect and measure physical factors by Brillouin scattering of light in optical fibers. Brillouin scattering advances the development of precise distributed fiber optic systems. Additionally, these fiber sensors enable to measure specific variables.

Distributed sensing systems are very promising for structural health monitoring. The following parameters can be detected: strain and temperature, acoustic waves, and others. Moreover, these fiber optic sensors maintain severe environments and offer noise electromagnetic immunity, durability, and reliability.

The most common application of fiber sensors based on the Brillouin sensing technique includes laboratory implementation. Nevertheless, their applications are not limited to labs only. Distributed fiber optic sensors are widely used in such fields as:

  • The civil infrastructure where distributed sensing systems detects variables in bridges, railways, and land monitoring;
  •  Bridges and monitoring where compact fiber sensors promote accurate diagnostic load test;
  • Geotechnical structures monitoring for measuring and controlling of the stress distribution;
  • Pipelines monitoring by distributed fiber optic sensors in real-time for early warning of liquid and gas pipes;
  • Monitoring of some materials and structures, for instance, competition yachts or experimental vehicles.

Optromix is a fast-growing vendor of fiber Bragg grating (FBG) product line such as fiber Bragg grating sensors, for example, fbg strain sensors, FBG interrogators and multiplexers, Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS) systems, Distributed Temperature Sensing (DTS) systems. The company creates and supplies a broad variety of fiber optic solutions for monitoring worldwide. If you are interested in structural health monitoring systems and want to learn more, please contact us at