Chirped FBGs and Their Common Applications

Due to high demand, fiber optic sensing continues to evolve. The most well-known technology associated with fiber optic sensors is the fiber Bragg gratings. They have become an instrument for measuring thermal, mechanical and physical parameters, like other technologies.
The FBGs differ by the method of their inscription. For chirped FBGs, one of these methods is used.Chirped Fiber Bragg Gratings and Their Applications

What are the Chirped FBGs?

Chirped FBGs are fiber Bragg gratings with a variable period lengthwise. The most common type is the linear chirped grating, where the period of the grating varies according to a linear law. Such gratings are recorded with the help of special phase masks with a variable period. In the past decades, chirped FBGs have attracted a lot of interest from specialists. This is due to their main characteristics and grating structure.

Due to their reflective index, the chirped FBGs are different from the custom fiber Bragg gratings. The refractive index profile of a grating can be modified to add other features. One such feature is a linear change in the grating period, called chirp. The reflected wavelength changes with the grating period, broadening the reflected spectrum. A chirped grating has the property of adding dispersion. This means that different wavelengths reflected from the grating will experience different delays.

Common FBGs and chirped FBGs have another significant difference. The overall spectrum is a function of the temperature or strain that is registered in each individual section of the grating. Chirped FBG sensors are capable of detecting temperature or strain changes. In this way, they can locate the events, such as hot spots or strain deformations.

Applications of Chirped FBGs

Conventional FBGs are built on the basis of the periodic modulation of the refractive index in the core of the optical fiber. They have been proven to be the top of the line grating-based type of technology.

  • Structural engineering;
  • Medical devices;
  • Oil and gas industry;
  • Nuclear monitoring, etc.

The fiber Bragg gratings are used as in-fiber mirrors or optical filters with a narrow band optical spectrum. They are commonly applied as sensitive elements in various fiber optic sensing systems for measuring strain, temperature, and other parameters.

Chirped FBGs

Chirped FBGs, as well as traditional fiber Bragg gratings, have found a variety of applications in laser technology and distributed sensing systems. All chirped FBGs have the ability to use the full length of the grating for strain or temperature change monitoring. Chirped FBGs also have their own spectral properties and ability to detect profiles. All of these key features make them in demand, and even preferred, in a number of different areas.

Their main functions are as follows:

  • Heat detection and localization;
  • Measurements of strain;
  • Detection and estimation of the high-pressure events;
  • Location of structural damage and mechanical cracks;
  • Velocity measurement.

For example, there are several different applications, including the following:

  • Transmission line monitoring;
  • Medical treatments;
  • Aerospace and automobile industry;
  • Structural health monitoring;
  • Biosensing, etc.

Temperature Measurement for Cancer Care

Chirped FBG sensors are real-time temperature measurement devices. One of them is medical thermal ablation. It is based on the hyperthermia principle. This technique is widely applied in pain relief, correction of cardiac arrhythmias, interventional cancer care. Thermal ablation is a recently developed technology for the minimally invasive treatment of tumors. It has proven to be effective.

Based on the correctly selected thermal dose, medical personnel choose the most appropriate treatment method. The higher the temperature, the more human cells get affected. This is especially true when treating cancer, where high temperatures help kill tumors. Thermal ablation is a minimally invasive procedure performed through a small skin incision or needle. This helps avoid damage to healthy tissue.

Chirped FBGs have made a significant contribution to the implementation of real-time distributed monitoring systems. They have found a number of applications including structural health monitoring (SHM) where their ability to measure temperature and strain is useful.

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

Constructions Where FBG Sensors Are Applied

FBG sensors have proven to be effective and useful during their implementations into different kinds of structures. They have become a necessary part of projects that aim to operate for long periods of time.Constructions Where Fiber Bragg Grating Sensors Are Applied

Fiber Bragg Grating Sensors Applications

There are various types of FBG sensors based on the parameters they monitor: temperature, strain, displacement, etc. They have a number of advantages that make them highly effective even in the most harsh environment. Compact size, fast response, immunity to electromagnetic interference and other factors usually play a critical role in many situations.

For example, fiber optic sensors are widely used for monitoring of long structures such as tunnels and pipelines. In addition to the ability of the remote control, they provide stable operation over a long period of time. Therefore, they don’t require any additional repairs.

The other advantage of fiber Bragg gratings is multiplexing. A single optical fiber can contain multiple FBGs at the same time. This fact makes it a cost-effective instrument even for large infrastructures. This is especially true when compared to techniques where each sensor is placed separately. Due to their size and weight, fiber optic sensors can be installed in most applications.

FBG Sensors for Strategic Buildings

FBG sensors are widely applied for structural health monitoring of various existing structures including critical facilities such as bridges, strategic buildings, etc. The main problem with this type of construction is related to the appearance of cracks. Cracks can cause many problems in the operation of the construction. They are dangerous because they can be invisible to specialists and unpredictable in terms of growth rate, both of size and speed. Unfortunately, there are a lot of examples where buildings have been ruined because of this, sometimes with tragic consequences.

When it comes to bridges in particular, real-time structural health monitoring is an effective tool for structural safety. Continuous monitoring is required for safety verification especially after extreme events.

Fiber Optic Sensors in Coal Mines

The other application field where fiber optic sensors are used is coal mining infrastructure. Electronic sensors can’t provide an effective structural health monitoring due to the extreme environment in coal mines. On the contrary, in most cases, FBG sensors are chosen for their ability to operate in harsh conditions such as darkness, vibration and for their immunity to electromagnetic interference. Coal mines are in need of a modern monitoring system for the fulfillment of the operating conditions of the tunnels and the transmission of the data to the control center. Structural health monitoring provides specialists with early warning of potential coal mine failures.

Fiber Bragg grating sensors build a safety control structure health monitoring system that accurately observes the processes. It can monitor various parameters but for the coal mines the most common sensors are FBG temperature sensors and FBG pressure sensors. Fiber optic sensors are embedded in the structure itself and function during the lifetime.

FBG sensors have gained increasing interest due to their ability to alert about any tiny or critical changes. The personnel can react to the alarm and prevent the possible disaster. And if it’s already happened, the fiber optic system can help in estimating the damage.

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

Fiber Bragg Gratings for Civil and Geotechnical Engineering

Specialists have already found a series of applications where fiber Bragg gratings have shown to be profitable. FBG sensors have become a reliable distributed sensing solution for structural health monitoring. In addition to other applications, such as in the biomedical field, they are also used in civil engineering and geotechnical engineering.

All these areas have one thing in common – the environmental conditions. In such environments, it’s difficult to prevent the degradation processes such as aging and chemical effects. These factors should also be taken into account when implementing the traditional monitoring systems or equipment. In most cases, they have a short service life and require frequent replacement.

Alternatively, fiber optic sensors deliver modern fiber optic solutions that are able to work in extreme environments.FBGs for Civil and Geotechnical Engineering

Fiber Bragg Grating Sensors Common Characteristics

Since their first implementation, FBG sensors have been broadly deployed especially for distributed sensing of temperature, strain, and other characteristics that are particularly valuable in geotechnical and civil engineering. Fiber optic sensors have become world renowned for the features they offer. High sensitivity, immunity to electromagnetic interference are the most important parameters that are in demand.

Like traditional sensors, FBG interrogators face similar challenges. For example, they are usually required in extremely accurate equipment. That’s why there’s a high demand for maximum precision and high spectral resolution, down to picometer level. Fiber optic devices are also increasingly being used to deploy in rugged environments.

Fiber Bragg gratings are compact and can provide stable operation and durability in outdoor environments. For example, they are typically exposed to moisture influences, chemical reactions, temperature variations, etc. Distributed sensing systems should meet all the necessary requirements to ensure safety and proper operation of the entire system and to avoid the consequences of the interaction of the sensing element with the environment.

To ensure that, fiber optic systems should have robust materials and construction. In addition to complete, reliable fiber optic systems, fiber optic cables play a crucial role in creating the long-term FBG structural health monitoring systems. All fiber optic sensors should be able to withstand a certain level of thermal and mechanical loads at all times. The only way to provide customers with the best fiber optic solution is through testing of FBG sensors and application methods.

FBG Inscription Methods

Depending on the application and environmental conditions in which the FBGs are to be used, specialists can design FBG sensors for individual customer parameters.

A fiber Bragg grating is a fiber optic microstructure in which the index of refraction within the optical core changes along its length. The producing process of FBGs is usually called “writing”. Nowadays, there are three FBGs inscription methods:

  • The interferometric method is based on exposing a light sensitive area of the fiber to an interferometric fringe pattern to get the full grating. The pattern is achieved by illuminating an appropriate mask. In this case, the phase mask period defines the FBG period.
  • Continuous core-scanning method. Here, the FBG writing is provided by the motion of the translational frame where the fiber is fixed. In this technique, the period of the FBG is defined by the modulation frequency and the translation speed of the fiber.
  • And the last is the direct point-to-point method based on the absorption of a laser pulse. Each grating element is generated by controlling the laser parameters and moving the fiber. In this technique, the FBG period is determined by the fiber translation speed and the laser pulse repetition rate.

Applications of FBG Sensors

Fiber Bragg grating sensors are used in various fields where it is required to monitor structural health. In engineering, they are used to monitor the integrity of the entire structure and observe any deformation of its components. Such monitoring leads to the reduction of the risks and safety requirements. Fiber optic sensors are particularly useful for reinforced concrete structures because they can provide online data on the risk of corrosion.

When we talk about geotechnical and civil engineering, FBGs have also found their place for implementation.

Here are some examples of how fiber optic technology gets used:

  • Concrete structure monitoring;
  • Lateral deformation monitoring of embankment soft soil;
  • Pressure monitoring of tunnel’s rock and soil;
  • Structural health monitoring of bridges, dams, etc.

Nowadays, FBG sensors are also used to monitor landslides and slope failures and have shown good results. Distributed sensing systems have been applied to examine the landslide stability and deformation of landslides. Nevertheless, installing monitoring systems in complex environments and dealing with uncontrollable boundary conditions require careful consideration of potential issues.

Monitoring engineering and geotechnical structures with distributed sensing systems can improve profitability. Structural health monitoring methods are often preferred due to their ability to:

  • operate in chemically aggressive environments;
  • their feasibility in hard-to-reach areas of structures;
  • use fiber optic solutions which reduce equipment costs by utilizing a single fiber optic cable.

Overall, fiber Bragg gratings find extensive use in geotechnical and civil engineering applications. And, as with any technology, the successful implementation of fiber optic technology requires specialized experience and professionalism in designing and implementing the entire fiber optic system. Most of all, when there is a need for long-term measurements.

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

FBGs for Monitoring in Hydrogen and Radiation Environment

Fiber Bragg gratings (FBGs) are commonly applied in different fiber optic devices, for instance, in fiber lasers, sensors, etc. However, because of the harsh environmental conditions, where FBGs are operating, there are several important factors that should be taken into consideration.

According to the experiments and field results, FBGs’ characteristics can change with time. Negative environmental effects such as radiation and hydrogen effects can not only influence the parameters but also shorten the operation time of the fiber Bragg gratings. It is especially important to understand the radiation effects and other factors on essential dimensions of fiber optic systems during fiber optic technology manufacturing.

Fiber Bragg Gratings for Monitoring in Hydrogen and Radiation Environment

What are the Fiber Bragg Gratings (FBGs)?

Fiber Bragg grating is an optical fiber that has the refraction index changing along the fiber length. Due to its modulation, FBG acts as a mirror that reflects certain wavelengths and transmits the others.

FBGs have become significant tools of the fiber optic technology from the very first day of their creation. Specialists have drawn much attention to the fiber optic sensing because of its properties, for example, compact sizes, immunity to the electromagnetic interference, etc.

What are the applications of the FBGs?

Specialists have already applied fiber optic solutions in various industrial sectors: industrial and civil constructions, aerospace, etc. Fiber optic sensors are applied for measurement of different physical parameters including temperature, strain, pressure, etc. Nowadays, these abilities are effectively applied in such structures as a structural health monitoring device by fiber Bragg grating sensors.

However, implementing such a powerful instrument in difficult environmental conditions, where most tools can not be used at all, brings some troubles. Scientists have learned to deal with it and have improved fiber Bragg gratings greatly.

So, nowadays FBGs are capable of operating in high radiation conditions, as an example, for nuclear installations and space applications.

Fiber Bragg gratings (FBGs) for space

The most up-to-date fiber optic sensors can be used not only for spacecraft systems, but also for astronauts’ security and health. In space, the radiation level is very high, taking into consideration the periodic solar flares.

There is a need for an accurate system that is able to operate in radiation environments. Especially, considering the fact that it brings some troubles even to replace some equipment onboard not to tell about when a satellite is put into orbit.

That’s why fiber optic systems are highly suitable for applying in this industry and providing data about temperature, strain and radiation. Moreover, based on the received information, it can foresee possible malfunctions. They are able to operate in extreme conditions and survive during the entire mission.

These factors make all the difference in future space exploration and its colonization.

FBGs for the nuclear industry

Fiber Bragg grating sensors can be also implemented for the development of nuclear applications. It is well-known that the radiation affects the surrounding materials and consequently their features. It is about photonic and electronic components that are the most susceptible to nuclear radiation exposure.

Usually, in the nuclear industry there is no possibility to replace components or make any repairs of the already operating systems. That’s why it is required to monitor the systems’ maintenance in the radiation conditions.

There are two types of radiation that are always taken into consideration: gamma-rays and neutrons. Gamma-rays are radiated by the surrounding structures, and neutrons are relevant to the inner reactor core during its operation. FBGs can be implemented in different sensing operations. For example, monitoring of the temperature in the reactor core and observation of the underground nuclear waste storage facilities, mechanical stress measurements, etc.

FBGs in radiation environments

There are several types of FBGs that can be divided according to their diverse inscription processes, thermal and radiation resistances. In reality, fiber optic sensors can malfunction under the long-term exposure of radiation that leads to the future measurement errors. These malfunctions depend on the structure of distributed fiber optic sensors and the radiation environment.

Scientists have conducted a range of special studies to watch how fiber Bragg gratings are operating in radiation conditions. Space, high energy physics and nuclear facilities are able to apply fiber optic technology to their advantage.

Fiber optic sensors’ sensitivity to the radiation depends on their way of manufacturing and concentration. However, ionization is able to break the bonds. Moreover, there is a possibility of structural changes such as densification that causes further defects. These factors lead to the degradation of optical characteristics that are invisible to the eye.

The main effect applied in this technology is radiation-induced attenuation. It depends on various parameters including:

  • Harsh environments;
  • Qualities of the optical fibers like manufacturer process, etc;
  • Testing environment.

Due to the composition of the optical fibers, they will react in radiation environments differently. That’s why except for the accurate calculations, specialists take tests on the fiber radiation response in conjunction with temperature. They watch fiber optic sensors’ possible reactions before applications in the real-world environment.

Fiber Bragg gratings have many capabilities and can be applied for prevention of disasters and accidents. With a proper coating and method of inscription, FBGs are able to detect any changes and, due to it, define the concentration of the hydrogen, etc. The quick and accurate location of the resulting leakage can prevent crucial damages, unexpected expenses, and danger to human life.

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

FBG Interrogators and Other Fiber Optic Technologies

Fiber optic technology has become a solution that takes its place in many processes due to its benefits and stable performance it provides. It contains a wide range of tools such as fiber Bragg grating sensors, FBG interrogator, etc. All equipment contributes to distributed sensing and plays its own different role.FBG Interrogators and Other Fiber Optic Technologies

FBG Technology Principle

Fiber Bragg grating is a microstructure. It might be integrated into the optical fiber’s core. FBG is usually approximately a few millimeters in length. The interference pattern in the core is done with the help of the UV laser beam and a phase mask.

According to the technology, the index of reflection changes along the length in the fiber core. Its modulation makes a fiber Bragg grating play as a selective mirror that is able to reflect certain wavelengths and transmit the others. The light that continues to pass through the optical fiber to the following fiber Bragg grating travels without any loss. The reflected wavelength is defined by the microstructure interval and the index of refraction of the core.

The FBG system contains two main elements: FBG interrogator and a range of fiber Bragg grating sensors.

FBG Interrogators

FBG interrogators are optoelectronic units playing a role of measurement and data collection systems. FBG interrogator is an important part of the distributed monitoring system that enables instant figures of fiber Bragg grating (FBG) sensors and data transmission.

An FBG interrogator is able to provide data from the network of sensors. Fiber optic sensors can be presented by different types of sensors that measure different parameters, for example, temperature, strain, displacement, etc. They are connected into one distributed monitoring system that acquires information simultaneously.

During the data acquisition, FBG interrogator acts as a radar, sending pulses into the fiber and getting the signals back. The interrogator registers the received wavelengths and then transfers them into engineering units. With highly accurate FBG interrogators, fiber optic sensing systems are able to provide reliable data over a wide distance. FBG interrogators efficiently provide precise measured data twenty-four hours a day using computer software. Due to the software, data can be stored and later analyzed.

Fiber Bragg Grating Sensors

The other element of every sensing system, except for FBG interrogator, is fiber Bragg grating sensors. FBG sensors are sensors based on the same principle of fiber optic technology. They usually present a chain of sensors creating a single optical fiber. This chain commonly consists of up to 30 fiber Bragg grating sensors per fiber.

Fiber optic sensors proved to be the best solution compared to traditional electrical sensors. They have proven to be highly accurate, relatively simple instruments capable of operating in severe environments. In contrast with conventional electrical sensors, fiber Bragg grating sensors are immune to electromagnetic influences (EMI) and mechanical fatigue.

The diversity of FBG sensors is quite wide. The most common types of sensors are:

  • Temperature sensors;
  • Strain sensors;
  • Displacement sensors;
  • Pressure sensors, etc.

Fiber optic sensors can be implemented in different field projects. Depending on the purposes, multiple fiber optic sensors or array of sensors can be installed. They are able to take measurements for one or several parameters in different places. The FBG sensors can be embedded into the structures or surface mounted.

FBG systems that contain fiber Bragg grating sensors and FBG interrogators have found their applications in many areas. They are proven to help in development and monitoring of different constructions, vessels, systems, etc. Fiber optic technology has proven to be cost-effective and efficient.

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

Multicore Fiber Optic Sensors for 3D Shape Sensing

Multicore fiber optic sensors have found a range of applications in different fields. One of them is 3D shape sensing which has greatly risen in recent decades. Nowadays, 3D shape sensing can be produced for industrial necessities or for the area of research depending on the purposes of applications. Multicore fiber optic sensors have proved to be the most effective instruments for this technology in comparison with other methods. They are used particularly in the cases when there is a need for the most precise measurements and minimal invasive procedures.Fiber Optic Sensors for 3D Shape Sensing

What is 3D Shape Sensing?

Fiber optic 3D shape sensing is a fiber optic technology that applies a fiber optic cable for permanent monitoring of the objects’ 3D shape and position in real-time.

Shape sensing has a capability of finding and detecting all the deformation processes that take place at one or more locations along the fiber optic cable. This fiber optic technology can detect just one kind of deformations with certain types of fiber optic sensors or a range of deformations with the types of several distributed measurements.

Multicore optic fibers themselves have an ability to transmit the data at high speed. They also can be applied as fiber optic sensors, when they have fiber Bragg gratings (FBGs) in the cores. FBGs are reflective gratings that can filter specific wavelengths. Any changes of the form or position cause the wavelength changes.

As for the 3D shape sensing, there is a special way of fiber Bragg gratings’ inscription into multicore fibers. Firstly, they are spun while stretching. Then fiber Bragg gratings are written along the cores’ length. This technique makes it possible to identify the fiber’s rotation as well as three-dimensional changes.

The Most Common Advantages of the 3D Shape Sensing

Fiber optic sensors are proved to be effective in different technologies. They are especially suitable when there is a need for a complex measurement system. It usually involves the whole system with a number of fiber optic sensors and can provide the measurements of several characteristics simultaneously.

Moreover, FBG sensors have a range of other benefits in comparison with other traditional sensors. So, fiber optic sensors are:

  • highly sensitive to temperature and strain modifications that lead to the high levels of accuracy;
  • immune to external electromagnetic interference;
  • lightweight and small sized;
  • easy to attach and reliable;
  • corrosion resistance;
  • resistant to the harsh environmental conditions such as humidity, high temperatures, etc.

Due to their compact size, fiber optic sensors can be embedded in small devices and objects. Moreover, they can be implemented into distributed sensing systems so the FBG interrogator units can be installed at some other place and send all the data remotely without any wiring.

Fiber Optic Sensors Applications in 3D Shape Sensing

3D shape sensing technology has recommended itself as an effective and even preferable instrument.

This technology has a significant use in the structural health monitoring of different constructions such as buildings, bridges, etc. Besides, fiber optic sensors are produced for aircraft monitoring. Fiber optic solutions are also utilized for damage detection, deformation monitoring and structural fatigue life evaluation. Moreover, intelligent material deformation and intelligent robot posture monitoring are of the applications where fiber optic technology is used.

3D Shape Sensing in Medicine

As for the medicine and biomedical fields, fiber Bragg gratings (FBGs) as well as 3D shape sensing have got a special place. This technique has significantly decreased the healing and rehabilitation time and resulted in minimum functional and cosmetic damage to the body. Here are some examples where fiber optic sensors have proved to be an effective option:

  • FBG sensors have found a wide range of applications connected to cardiac activities and cardiovascular diseases. They are applied in artery pressure detection, intra-aortic balloon pumping, etc.
  • In surgery, they are applied as surgical instruments that, among all other options, help in visualization. If we are talking about laparoscopic or robotic surgery, the process of visualization has become more simple due to the fiber endoscopes.
  • Endourology is another field that uses shape sensing technology’s advantages. One of the endourological procedures is cystoscopy that means the treatment of bladder and tumors. Sensing technology makes the device navigation and localization process better. As a result, specialists can carry out operations faster and safer, therefore, conducting the procedures more effectively.
  • 3D shape sensing was able to improve another medical field called colonoscopy. A common colonoscope coupled with the fiber optic technology makes the navigation better and allows preventing most challenges that specialists usually face. Due to the benefits of the fiber optic solutions, including shape reconstruction over the whole device, specialists can get the data about the procedure in real time. As a result, medical procedures become safer and more comfortable.
  • Epidural anesthesia is getting popular in difficult operations where pain management methods are required. The insertion procedure is conducted with a thin needle that makes it impossible to use most of the sensors due to their size. However, fiber optic sensors based on the distributed sensing principle are able to solve this problem. Specialists have conducted accurate calculations to provide a navigation system that is able to make the correct penetration into the tissue easier. So, it also helps the operators in determination whether the epidural space has been reached.

All in all, 3D shape sensing is a fiber optic technology that has found many applications and become an indispensable tool in medicine, for example, as needles and catheters. Fiber optic sensors, being cost-effective tools, are especially irresistible when there is a requirement in detecting small deformations.

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

Fiber Bragg Grating Sensors for Weigh-in-Motion strips

Nowadays, road safety has advanced to a new level with the use of fiber Bragg grating sensors. Due to its characteristics, fiber optic technology has become part of the other technologies. For example, FBG sensors are applied in WIM systems (or Weigh-In-Motion systems) for that purpose.

There are several types of WIM systems and one of them is based on fiber Bragg grating sensors. Such systems provide specialists with the most accurate and detailed data around the clock, monitoring traffic flow. They are able to detect the vehicles and in the meantime determine their weight during the regular traffic. The traffic monitoring in real time allows improving the enhancement of traffic management.

Moreover, fiber Bragg gratings (FBGs) are used in WIM systems for the structural health monitoring, for example, of the bridges or rails.FBG Sensors for Weigh-in-Motion strips

What is Weigh-in-Motion (WIM) Technology?

Weigh-in-motion (WIM) systems are based on technology that allows providing reliable weight measurements of the vehicles. The systems can be applied whether for specific road or rail vehicles such as trucks and trains, or for public applications like be set on the rail or road tracks to monitor the traffic. Weigh-in-motion systems built on fiber Bragg grating sensors measure the traffic flow and supply all the information from it. Thanks to the durability and quality of FBG sensors, the necessary data is provided using one of the most cost-effective methods.

The whole fiber optic system consists of a range of sensors and a roadside unit with all the data devices. According to the application purposes, there is an opportunity to add other fiber optic sensors to this weigh-in-motion system, for instance, temperature sensors. Moreover, to receive more data about the vehicles, it is possible to use cameras for license plate photos.

What Information do the Weigh-in-Motion Systems Provide?

Fiber optic sensors follow two basic physical principles. The first principle that belongs to fiber Bragg gratings is the diffraction changes under the deformations. The second one is the changes of the optical fibers and their characteristics under the influence of the deformation. Therefore, the WIM systems provide all the characteristics that fiber optic technology offers.

The reliable data on weight from fiber optic sensors give an understanding of the loading of heavy goods vehicles and traffic flow. FBG sensors will help in estimation, avoiding any inaccuracy in the future. This, in turn, will allow improving the goods transportation and infrastructure management.

Except for the usual weight parameters that fiber optic systems provide, there are other available options, such as date-time, speed and classes of vehicles. To efficiently operate, the fiber optic systems can be installed on the specific vehicle or placed by the road for the entire traffic flow monitoring.

Advantages and Disadvantages of the Fiber Optic Sensors

As any technology based on fiber optic sensors, WIM systems possess all the features that FBG sensors have. Such characteristics as light weight, small size and insensitivity to the electromagnetic fields and weather conditions are really important in monitoring systems. Moreover, WIM systems have an ability to identify the underinflated or double tires in the traffic stream.

Weigh-in-motion systems help in providing very short response time in operations. However, there is a possibility of some inaccuracy of weighting, especially in motion. That’s why specialists are aiming at enhancing the same level of accuracy in motion as in static. And sometimes there is no use in enhancing the fiber Bragg grating sensors’ accuracy level, but increasing the number of sensors or making the automatic calibration processes better. There is a range of external factors that influence fiber optic sensors’ operation such as vehicle suspension, road roughness, etc. Moreover, they can influence the accuracy level in a bad way.

The most commonly agreed disadvantage is relatively high cost for electronic equipment. However, due to the long service life of fiber optic sensors, WIM systems seem to be a cost-effective technique by operating for at least 10 years.

Applications of the Weigh-in-Motion Systems

Fiber optic solutions are applied for many purposes as WIM systems. If it is needed, WIM unit can provide several data parameters at once. Usually, such data is applied in the following spheres:

  • Vehicle and traffic loading. As it was mentioned before, the information on the traffic flow helps in optimization and planning of the road network in the future. Or the researchers frequently apply it for carrying out the studies. However, there is another implementation that can be used for the already existing infrastructure – for example, for the review of the traffic flow over the road network and its future development with time.
  • Weight enforcement is aimed at complying with loading regulations. This will lead to the decline of the overloading numbers that have negative implications. These WIM systems based on the FBG principles provide the most effective instrument of weight enforcement.
  • WIM systems based on the FBGs can also be applied for industrial use like in logistic centers or at ports. They are most commonly needed in the weight check and defining of the trucks’ axle loads. All these measures are aimed at avoiding overloads and their possible future consequences of entering the road network.
  • WIM systems with fiber optic sensors for the railway industry are as well effective as DAS systems described in previous articles. The most common ways of application in this sphere are the total track loading and dynamic wheel loads. In practical terms, the provided data helps in design and maintenance of the rail tracks.

In the future WIM systems with fiber optic sensors will allow creating one of the base elements of the “Smart City” concept. The FBG sensors are able to provide the system that with different types of sensors will form a complex and reliable technology. Moreover, the improvement of the weigh-in-motion systems based on the fiber Bragg grating sensors will lead to the decrease of overloaded trucks on roads.

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

Fiber Optic Sensing for the Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage

Fiber optic sensing technology has proved to be an effective method in well and reservoir management. Fiber optic sensors constantly track temperature changes along the wells at specified intervals and collect all the data.
This technique is also compliant with the other technologies such as Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD).

What is Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage?

Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage (or SAGD) is an enhanced oil recovery drilling technique that helps in extracting heavy crude oil or bitumen from oil sands deposits. Mostly, the accustomed approaches in such cases are economically inefficient. Specialists may use it in particular cases when the production is difficult. With the help of the fiber optic technology this approach becomes more cost-effective.

Fiber Optic Sensing for the Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD)

How does Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage work?

In short, the SAGD system’s principle is heating the heavy oil or bitumen by the steam for further extraction. For that two horizontal wells are drilled at an angle of 90 degrees to a vertical bore well. In the wells, there are two pipes, one above the other for around 4-5 meters.

At the very beginning, the cold heavy oil is essentially immobile because of the high viscosity, and it needs to be warmed up to extract it. To do so, the steam is applied. It travels through the upper well into the reservoir and expends the heat in all directions of the formation, making a steam chamber. The heat warms the bitumen and reduces its viscosity. Then the bitumen flows downward into the production well and is pumped to the surface. Both processes are going at the same time.

Current Applications of the Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage

Due to the growing level of oil consumption, the level of its development needs to be increased. Not the last role is played by the SAGD and fiber optic systems such as fiber optic sensors and fiber Bragg gratings.

Like any exploration, heavy oil production needs accurate analysis and planning, especially if there are other factors that make the production difficult. Such aspects as great depth, high temperature conditions, etc. are essential. All of these issues need to be considered. The low mobility and high viscosity make the oil producing complicated and lead to low recovery indexes. However, due to the SAGD and fiber optic technology, there is an opportunity to maximize the recovery indexes.

For SAGD technology, FBG sensors are usually applied in wells to track the steam as it moves along the wellbore. Due to the fiber optic sensors, there is an opportunity to see the data in real time. According to the achieved data, the velocity of the steam can be identified. Besides, temperature sensors can also define the speed of the heating. The accurate settings of the temperature, pressure and steam-injection rates can lead to the operational savings. All the information can be used to plan the further work of the production operations.

Fiber Optic Sensors in Downhole Monitoring

Fiber optic sensors have proved to be effective for various parameters’ monitoring in downhole applications. Most of all, distributed temperature sensing (DTS) is applied for these purposes. Distributed sensing has demonstrated good results. It has high recommendations in the oil industry. DTS can monitor well temperature all over the fiber optic cable.

Due to the modernly developed fiber optic designs and improvement of fiber optic sensing technology, a range of issues related to downhole production have been solved. However, the harsh environmental conditions in the downhole can still bring some problems to the fiber optic sensors.

The sensors still need to cope with hydrogen in the severe environmental conditions. It has a great impact on the optical fibers. Firstly, it can cause pressure and temperature errors. The appearing errors are connected to the hydrogen diffusion into the microstructure and to the changes of the refractive index when hydrogen penetrates into micro holes and fiberglass. So the hydrogen leads to the additional Bragg wavelength shift.

With this in mind, specialists are constantly developing fiber optic monitoring systems based on fiber Bragg grating technology.

Advantages and disadvantages of the SAGD

SAGD has played a crucial role in the rapid development of the oil resources. However, as everything, this method has some pros and cons that should be taken into account.

Most Common Disadvantages for SAGD technology

  • Firstly, as any other technology, SAGD has its restrictions. It is not well-suited for every production area with heavy oil. It has several aspects to be fulfilled, like homogeneous and relatively thick reservoirs.
  • Secondly, high water and fuel consumption. To work effectively, SAGD needs a large amount of water and natural gas. Both of them are used in the process of steam production. That’s why the energy consumption is high but worth it. When all these conditions are satisfied, SAGD technology can be used. Moreover, the specialists advise using deep water sources that are not appropriate for consumption or agricultural uses. In fact, the majority of deployments’ developers follow this recommendation for environmental protection.
  • Thirdly, some think that SAGD technology is an expensive tool for oil production. However, specialists consider this technology as a superior alternative to reduce the high expenses and at the same time increase productivity. The reason for the cost reduction is that less horizontal wells are required to be drilled.
  • Fourthly, concerns about an environmental effect of the steam assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) are still a topic of discussion. However, according to the statistics, over the last 20 years the environmental analysis is getting better. It is obvious that the production of the crude bitumen and oil cause environmental consequences, but due to the development of modern cleaner extraction technologies, the situation is improving.

The Main Advantages of the SAGD technology

The main benefit of the whole SAGD technology is the improved steam-oil ratio and high ultimate recovery. Besides, the DTS systems help in optimization of the oil and bitumen production.

The other SAGD advantage is the constant evolution. Every next project makes a great contribution and brings new ideas and experiences. Meanwhile, the diversity of newly developed methods leads to new approaches to different types of oil fields.

So there are other modified types of SAGD technique:

  • Shaft and Tunnel Access (SATAC);
  • Single Well SAGD (SW-SAGD);
  • Multi-drain SAGD;
  • Fast-SAGD;
  • Enhanced Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage (ESAGD).

The SAGD was firstly implemented in Canada, where there are the largest reservoirs of crude bitumen. This allowed to advance the recovery factors in excess of 50%.

SAGD (steam assisted gravity drainage) well temperature monitoring provide:

  • Temperature profile control of injection and production wells;
  • Determination of inflow (injection) intervals of the fluid;
  • Determination of the fluid level in the well and perforation intervals;
  • Identification of issues in the well.

Plus, as any fiber optic technology, distributed temperature sensing for SAGD offers:

  • Maximum protection of the cable against chemical and physical effects;
  • Longer service life;
  • Convenience and speed of the installation;
  • Operations in the well without the extraction of the cable sensor.

The SAGD wells have implemented all the advantages of fiber optic sensing. FBG sensors offer real-time, precise temperature measurements along the fiber optic cable in the wellbore. Fiber optic solutions allowed us to monitor the objects that were unapproachable before. For example, fiber optic sensors with extended temperature range were applied in the oil wells for temperature control during oil production using SAGD technology.

Steam assisted gravity drainage is commonly believed to be applied for complex deployments. It aims to make the process simpler. And the fiber optic technology is good at helping it. However, the specialists should discuss and decide how fiber optic technology can fit into the development at the planning stage. Fiber optic solutions may simplify the production process.

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

Fiber Optic Solutions for fusion power plants

Fiber Optic Solutions for power plantsAccording to the researchers from the American university, the faster specialists can detect thermal shifts the faster they can prevent disruptive quench in the HTS magnets for fusion devices in power plants. That is why scientists hope to solve this issue with the help of newly developed fiber optic solutions.

Recently, fusion became considered a safe, constant, and carbon-free energy source. The HTS magnets play a crucial role in many such programs. It increases the necessity of different instruments such as sensors and controls that help magnets to work in severe environmental conditions of a fusion power plant.

The research team had an aim to prevent quenches in power plants that are based on magnetic-confinement fusion devices. Scientists also focused on the commercialization, availability, and simplicity in the conditions of the accelerating fusion’s viability as an energy source. They aimed to create a fiber optic system that would provide minimal risks and would be robust.

Scientists used optical fibers with fiber Bragg gratings (FBGs) as a promising instrument that can measure temperature. FBG reflects just one of the wavelengths that are determined by the spacing while most of the light passes through. The reflected wavelength can demonstrate the small differences in temperature and strain. That is why the installation of fiber Bragg gratings along the fiber optic cable can help in temperature monitoring all over the length.

FBGs have been applied in many various areas for strain and temperature measurement. However, according to the researchers, they’ve never been applied for larger cables with high current densities as they have. This cable is able to handle the intense electrical and electromagnetic stresses of severe environmental conditions.

The research team designed new ultra-long fiber Bragg gratings. They behave as a long quasi-continuous FBG, but all the lengths can be meters long instead of millimeters. When the usual FBGs can monitor temperature locally, these new fiber Bragg gratings can simultaneously trace the temperature modifications along the whole cable. This fiber optic technology enables fast detection of temperature changes regardless of the heat source location. It means that the accurate location can’t be defined but the utmost importance in such systems is early detection of the problem.

As a result of the real operating conditions, the fiber optic system was able to detect small temperature changes very quickly. It was even demonstrated to be more effective than the usually applied voltage taps. Moreover, the FBG sensors’ response times could be tuned and their sensitivity became higher as quench regions expanded. All these helped to find quench events faster in comparison with voltage taps even in difficult cases.

The research team offered the fiber optic system providing the technological effectiveness and minimal technological risk of the approach. And scientists are sure that they can make a contribution to other industries where superconducting magnets are really important with the help of fiber optic technology.

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

Fiber Optic Technology as pipeline leak detection method

Fiber Optic Technology for the pipeline leak detectionSpecial fiber optic technology can make fiber optic cable a sensing one. That solves many challenges including monitoring long units like pipelines, tunnels, or power cables. With the help of fiber optic sensors, it is more likely to find the leak in a short time. FBG interrogator sends a laser pulse through the fiber optic cable and the light comes back to the interrogator. The back scattered light delivers back acoustic, vibration, and thermal data.

Distributed sensing is widely used as an external pipeline leak detection method. Distributed sensing systems easily detect changes in temperature, noise, or vibration. Distributed sensing helps in detecting internal events, for example, liquid accumulations in gas pipelines, slugs, and flow constrictions.

Nowadays, distributed sensing pipeline leak detection software includes a wide variety of pipeline applications. The systems that apply distributed acoustic sensing (DAS) or distributed temperature sensing (DTS) are already produced in many projects across tens of thousands of kilometers of pipelines. Therefore distributed sensing systems already proved to be the most cost-effective in leak detecting.

There are standard fiber optic cables with suitable distributed sensing systems compatible with single-mode and multi-mode fibers or with a combination of them. According to the scientists, fiber optic cables with the usage of single-mode fibers are suitable for both DAS and DTS. While fiber optic cables using multi-mode fibers could enhance the DTS systems’ performance. Distributed sensing systems emphasize the detection of thermal and acoustic leak signatures. That’s why there are different types of DAS and DTS systems according to their thermal, acoustic detection capabilities, and performance requirements.

For example, a research team from South Africa is currently applying fiber optic solutions for the detection of leaks in pipelines. Scientists investigated leak detection using fiber Bragg gratings. These were applied to measure strains and temperature on pipelines and in the ground adjacent to pipelines. With the help of fiber optic technology, they could detect water leaks by burying a fiber optic cable into a pipe trench with a new pipe or place it above an existing pipe.

The scientists hope that after a number of experiments they could implement distributed sensing systems in South Africa by monitoring the pipes and delivering the data about water leaks into a leakage detection center. So fiber optic solutions would give an opportunity to fix the leak quickly without losing massive volumes of water. According to them, fiber optic technology shows great promise as a highly effective leak detection system.

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