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

Structural Health Monitoring Systems Applications

Structural health monitoring systems have found a number of applications in various fields. A complex approach including several techniques is the best solution for detecting damage and structural changes.

Here are some examples of its implementation in structures where fiber optic technology is more commonly used.Structural Health Monitoring Systems Applications

Structural Health Monitoring Common Information

The most effective methods of maintenance programs include early detection of material degradation and failure. Mostly, fiber optic systems have two purposes of applications:

  • Structural efficiency control during the construction;
  • Continuous monitoring of structural efficiency under service loads.

Structural health monitoring systems consist of three subsystems:

  • A network of fiber Bragg grating sensors;
  • An FBG interrogator that records the optical reflection from each fiber optic sensor. They are placed in the necessary locations, depending on the applications and type of the structure.
  • A processing unit that collects all the data from the FBG interrogator, processes it and transmits it to the user.

Distributed Sensing Systems

Distributed temperature systems are often the choice for harsh environments where traditional sensors may not be suitable. When we talk about dams, tunnels and similar structures, there are conditions that greatly affect the operation of the structures and sensors. Ground movement, earth pressure, water and groundwater have an impact on the reliability and efficiency of any monitoring system.

Specialists can monitor all deformations and temperature changes through distributed sensing. Distributed fiber optic sensors are capable of measuring various parameters from thousands of points and transmitting them to a center that provides complex data on any changes.

Distributed temperature systems are often the choice for harsh environments where traditional sensors may not be suitable. In the case of dams, tunnels and similar structures, there are conditions that have a major impact on the operation of the facility and its sensors. Ground movement, earth pressure, water and groundwater will affect the reliability and efficiency of any monitoring system.

Structural Health Monitoring of Dams

Dam safety can have a significant impact on the surrounding environment and people. That’s why structural health monitoring of the dams is an essential part of the dam safety regime. Timely detection of defects and minimizing the effects of possible damage are the main purposes of such systems. However, specialists may face some difficulties due to the height and complex structures of the dams. Comprehensive structural health monitoring can’t be fully achieved with just a few monitoring points; it requires a complete, properly designed fiber optic system. Another problem is that some areas of the dams are inaccessible or difficult to access.

There are a number of factors that can affect dam construction. These include temperature, hydrostatic pressure, chemical reactions, etc. There are also environmental factors such as air temperature, reservoir levels, and earthquakes.

All of these circumstances can be the cause of typical dam problems such as cracking, displacement, etc. The other problem is the appearance of internal erosion, which can cause the failure of the whole mechanism in the future. This problem is hard to detect. That’s why it is important to have an effective fiber optic system in place for structural health monitoring and therefore safe operation.

Accidents in dams usually occur during the first filling or in the first few years of operation. However, there are also accidents that occur later.

Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) of Tunnels

SHM is able to provide a quick assessment of the state of health of the tunnel. It is typically used for safety improvement and optimization of maintenance and operations activities. The fiber optic monitoring system provides data on any changes in indicators that could be the cause of tunnel collapse. This makes it possible to monitor the stability of the structure and take action when it’s needed.

The construction of tunnels is based on soil conditions, the functions of the tunnels themselves, and logistical issues. Underground construction is irreplaceable, especially in cities where land resources are scarce. They are not as susceptible to the effects of natural disasters as are structures on the surface of the earth.

In the hard-to-reach or problematic areas of the tunnels, distributed monitoring systems are usually recommended. This makes it easy for staff to monitor the condition of their structures and perform necessary maintenance in a timely manner. This is especially important when it comes to fires – the biggest danger in tunnels. There are special fiber optic systems for temperature control and early warning of ignition, including fiber optic heat detectors.

Today, there are automated fiber optic solutions that provide accurate monitoring from a remote location. These fiber optic devices are often designed specifically for use in critical locations. In addition, they consider the cases that may occur, such as the use of the additional FBG sensors. If the other sensor fails, they will be able to operate.

Distributed temperature sensing is a newly introduced technique capable of complex structural health monitoring systems. Temperature and pressure control is especially important for dams and tunnels with their difficult-to-access locations and other challenges that staff usually face. SHM is the solution for these situations.

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 Sensors for Concrete Constructions

FBG sensors are used to monitor structures made of various materials, including concrete and metals. In particular, we are talking about structures that usually consist of metals such as aluminum, steel, copper, etc.Fiber Bragg Grating Sensors for Concrete Constructions

Concrete Constructions’ Main Issues

Reinforcement plays a major role in concrete structures. Its strength and durability can affect the appearance and growth of the cracks. One of the reasons for such a degradation is corrosion.

Corrosion occurs when a substance reacts with its surroundings, resulting in the material’s consumption or contamination by an environmental component. Corrosion can reduce the life and load-bearing capacity of a structure. Due to the chemical reactions caused by corrosion, it may change the reflection of the steel surface. The thicker the material, the more it will be subject to deformation. Here, structural health monitoring (SHM) delivers the results.

Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) is an important tool used to monitor the occurrence of corrosion. It is effectively used in constructions to detect and prevent any possible damage. Early corrosion monitoring is essential. Corrosion is dangerous because it causes high costs to repair, and it takes some time to be discovered. In the most extreme cases it can bring the collapse of the complete structure.

Types of Corrosion Monitoring Devices

Today, there are a number of inspection technologies that have been developed specifically for the purpose of detecting damage to constructions. These methods include acoustic emissions, ground penetrating radar systems, electromagnetic techniques, etc. However, they all have their shortcomings including susceptibility to electromagnetic disturbance and lack of continuous structural health monitoring.

Fiber optic sensors are an effective solution for structural health monitoring. They provide real-time monitoring and low-cost techniques that monitor and control the corrosion appearance. There are a variety of fiber optic solutions available such as fiber Bragg grating sensors, FBG interrogators, distributed sensing systems, etc.

Corrosion conditions may vary due to their structure. Therefore, there is a need for a great number of point sensors. This is where distributed fiber optic sensors really come into their own.

Fiber Optic Sensing for Structural Health Monitoring

FBG sensors are used as instruments for corrosion detection. Like any standard sensor, fiber optic sensors are built into the structure to collect all the data and transmit it to the unit. They directly or indirectly measure vibration, displacement, humidity, temperature and chemical changes. FBG sensors are divided into several types due to the parameters they measure: displacements, strain, temperature, etc. By displaying this data, they are able to predict the occurrence of corrosion and its future consequences.

Here is a list of the major features of the FBG sensors:

  • Portability;
  • High accuracy;
  • Simplicity;
  • Long life;
  • Easy to integrate;
  • Electromagnetic interference and corrosion resistance;
  • Ability to operate in harsh environments, etc.

FBG sensors are particularly indispensable for monitoring corrosion in the hidden areas that are usually inaccessible to specialists. Their compact size allows for high accuracy and resolution. However, fiber optic sensors do not detect corrosion appearance directly but by estimating the material layer deposited on an optical fiber. That’s why they should be located close to the structure, in the same conditions.

FBG sensors have shown promising future in interaction with the concrete structures. This expands the horizon of their applications, including critical facilities and civil engineering.

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

Structural Health Monitoring for the Aircraft Industry

Structural health monitoring has already found many applications in various industries and become a powerful instrument. Its purpose is measurement of the aircraft constructions’ conditions.

The real-time monitoring and review of the structure’s current state provides precise data about the state of the materials and the construction itself. The data received with the help of fiber optic technology can be applied whether by specialists that are responsible for flight safety while plane preparation or by pilots during the flights. Moreover, structural health monitoring is an up-to-date technique considering the increasing number of flying machines including drones.SHM for the Aircraft Industry

Types of Structural Health Monitoring

A correctly customized SHM system tends to increase effective implementation, extend the service life of the equipment and reduce maintenance expenses.

There are two types of structural health monitoring that are applied in the design and operation of aircraft machines over many years: common structural condition monitoring that is responsible for damage determination and examination of the aircraft parts integrity, and load monitoring.

The monitoring of structure conditions and information about loads and damage location is proved to be extremely important, especially for the aerospace and aircraft industries. Usually, load monitoring is provided by measurement of the local deformations, and damage detection that is possible due to the acoustic signals of the distributed sensing systems.

FBG Sensors for Structural Health Monitoring in Aviation

To install structural health monitoring systems specialists carry out a range of calculations and estimations regarding FBGs and their integration into a process. Thanks to the factual flight data and a number of experiments, they have defined the vibration and load characteristics in aviation. This final information has been applied later for field projects.

Fiber Bragg grating sensors are particularly effective for monitoring and measurements of temperatures, pressures and strains. A variety of qualities make FBG sensors ideally suited for applications where the accuracy is important.

In addition to high accuracy, fiber Bragg grating sensors have compact sizes and light weight. These features apply both for cables and instrumentation. Moreover, they can be produced even smaller if the construction and clients require it. Therefore, FBG sensors have often been chosen as an appropriate monitoring instrument for the aviation industry as well as for various other spheres.

One more important advantage that specialists highly appreciate is the absolute explosion safety of the fiber optic sensors. This quality can provide safe engine operation even in conditions of laying cables along fuel tanks and lines.

Another issue that usually concerns aircraft specialists is susceptibility of metals to corrosion. To solve this, there is a need for monitoring of corrosion processes in real time. That’s why the development of specialized fiber optic sensors or corrosion sensor devices that are able to track its dynamics and transfer the data about it to the center plays a crucial role for aircraft construction.

Common Applications of the FBG Sensors

In aviation fiber optic sensors can be applied for measurement of different fundamental parameters that are necessary. Due to these numbers, there can be detected any appearing changes in construction. The standard FBG sensors measure temperature, pressure and strain. In aircraft engines, they can be applied in the hot and cold parts of the engine path. Fiber Bragg grating sensors for pressure and fuel consumption, vibration, and deformation at critical points can be used to evaluate their conditions even indirectly according to the deformations of the elements.

In addition to engine monitoring, FBG sensors are also applied to detect deformations of wings and fuselage parts, icing conditions, loads on the landing gear during takeoff and landing, etc. Structural health monitoring is proved to be essential, considering the wide range of details for airplanes that are made of polymer composites.

Fiber optic sensors may help specialists in detecting the problems during the flight that can be caused by difficult weather conditions. Moreover, they are able to highlight the existing problems during the creation of new aircraft or detect critical points under maneuvering modes. Both these applications are important and help in preventing huge catastrophes or at least will result in reducing their number.

All in all, structural health monitoring has made a great contribution into the aviation industry, just like in other spheres. FBG sensors are proven to be cost-effective and powerful instruments that can improve operation of modern aircraft and drones.

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 Sensor (FOS) Technology and its Applications

Thanks to all the advantages of the fiber optic sensor (FOS) technology and its diversity of instruments, described in the previous article, there are a range of applications. Structural health monitoring of the concrete constructions is proved to be the most effective tool for management of the infrastructure, due to the latest results.FOS Technology and its Applications

Here is a list of the most common applications where fiber Bragg grating sensors can be installed.


The lifetime of every large bridge is several decades or hundreds of years, including the period of construction and repair stages. Despite the improved quality of the bridges’ planning, it is still difficult to accurately predict its lifetime because of the complex structures and external influence like corrosion or the natural disasters like earthquake, flood, etc.

The structural health monitoring in real time gives an insurance of the safety of bridges. According to the researchers, this fiber optic system can be applied on the different stages of the bridge construction. Most of all, these fiber optic monitoring systems are used in the operation or safety phase of bridges and extend their lifespan.

The FBG structural health monitoring systems include fiber optic sensors, multiplexers, FBG interrogators, local and remote computers.

All in all, the fiber optic monitoring systems provide the following advantages:

  • Control of state of metal structures;
  • Control of the bridge oscillation frequency;
  • Notifications for the personnel on screen;
  • Extending the bridge’s lifetime, etc.

Moreover, when we talk about the railroad bridges, it is also possible to evaluate the lower bridge beam condition.


The state of the load-bearing structure and building foundation is a crucial element of safety. And fiber optic sensors have made a great contribution to it.

The structural health monitoring can be applied whether for the buildings under construction or for the old houses when there is a severe level of damage and degradation of materials. Unfortunately, the majority of the houses that were built before, mostly in the previous century, are particularly vulnerable to environmental actions. Basically, because there was no specific constructive detailing that would provide the age resistance of the constructions.

The degradation usually includes steel corrosion, debonding of concrete, etc. It becomes visible when the damage is greatly extended on the elements of the structure. If the moment for the structural repair is missed, it often leads to its more complex and expensive modernization. At worst, there is a need for demolition.

Mostly, fiber optic technology is used for:

  • Control of the strain-stress state of metal basic structures and foundations;
  • Monitoring of the cracks and foundation shrinkage in reinforced concrete structures;
  • Snow load control.


The structural health monitoring systems have also made a great contribution into tunnel construction.

The most important safety factor in tunnels, as in many civil structures, is the deformations. Fiber optic sensors can monitor and provide the useful data both within the construction phases and over the long term. In the long term, monitoring calls a very stable and precise system that can compare deformation measurements over long periods. In the short term, the monitoring system can measure deformations that occur for relatively short periods.

The structural health monitoring system influences the tunnels’ management and security by providing in-time maintenance and restoration. There is a problem of excessive deformations which can seldom affect the structural security, but can cause durability problems.

For example, such fiber optic monitoring systems can be applied during the highway tunnel’ construction to measure the tunnel load or to monitor railway tunnels. Besides, the knowledge of the tunnel’s behavior helps while the introduction of the modern building techniques or for the prolongation of its service life in the future.

Hydroelectric and Wind Power Plants

Fiber optic solutions have found their applications for nuclear, hydroelectric, wind power plants. Aging management of the components is directly related to their operation. Safety requirements guarantee their safe operation but still are difficult for operators to track fully. All kinds of power plants require the accurate and qualified assessment of the thermomechanical loads and other parameters that can lead to the early aging of the equipment.

Fiber optic sensing is one of the best monitoring and maintaining systems for the plants. Structural health monitoring (SHM) of hydroelectric plants, wind turbines and others gives operators real-time information of the components’ condition.


As for the dams, fiber optic technology helps in detection of the seepage flow changes in a dam structure. Dams usually face different problems connected to external loads such as water level changes, seismic disturbances, etc. Any changes in numbers can be a sign of erosion which is the most common cause of the dam failure.

Fiber optic system allows operators to get the data from all over the dam as measurements are taken along the full length of the cable. Distributed sensing detects the tiniest changes in rates that otherwise can lead to the operational failures.

Fiber optic sensors are able to measure various parameters and quantities in structural health monitoring. Depending on the required operating principles, specialists discuss which type of FBG sensor is the best suitable and their way of embedding and surface mounting. All in all, their final goal is to find the most effective fiber optic solution for the operating principle and potential applications in SHM.

The short list of applications can be also found on our website.

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 Railways

Fiber Bragg grating (FBG) sensors have already been applied in various applications and still arouse great production interest. They are commonly used in structural health monitoring for aerospace, civil engineering, oil & gas, etc.

As for the railway industry, fiber optic technology has made a substantial contribution to its development. It is anticipated that within a few years the number of goods that will be transported by railways will be increased, as well as the number of passengers. This, in turn, will lead to the growth of the axle load and trains’ faster speeds operating.

That’s why there is a great need for a full understanding of the rails’ structural and operating conditions as well as for providing safe and reliable operating conditions. So modern innovative technologies are required.

FBG Sensors for Railways

Fiber Optic Solutions for Monitoring Systems in the Railway Industry

In railways, common monitoring systems use strain gauge sensors. The sensors constantly measure resistance caused by the stress transmitted by the rail when the train runs through it. This fiber optic technology is already prominent due to its effectiveness. However, it still has several shortcomings. For example, it is expensive, huge and has difficulties in usage, in comparison with modern FBG sensors. Moreover, the most important disadvantage is that they can be affected by electromagnetic interference. FBG sensors are immune to the external interference such as electromagnetic interference, lightning and many other external disturbances.

Because of this, fiber Bragg grating sensors are getting more and more applications in high-speed railway networks. Applications are train weight estimation, measurement of train speed for real time, wheel imbalance detection, etc. It is clear from experiments that FBG sensors are more appropriate as railway monitoring systems compared to electrical ones.

Fiber Bragg Grating Sensors Characteristics

FBG sensors provide many crucial features for unique operational conditions in railways. In comparison with usual electrical sensors, fiber Bragg grating sensors have EMI/RFI immunity, multiplexing capability and can offer interrogation for long distances. In FBGs the data is wavelength-encoded, which makes the signals less susceptible to intensity fluctuations. Moreover, the fiber optic cable can be interrogated from either end, offering redundancy to FBG sensing networks. Plus, FBGs have a self-calibration capability. The strain and temperature measured findings is an absolute parameter. So there is no dependency on the measurement value and losses between the interrogation unit and the FBGs. To fabricate FBG sensors, FBGs are packaged and transformed into different types of transducers. That makes it possible to install them on the rail track fasteners, clips, bogie, train body, chassis, and axle boxes of a train to provide ongoing inspection for health checking.

In addition to that, FBG sensors can be interrogated at very high-speeds.

Providing reliable operational conditions, fiber optic designs can measure a wide range of other parameters such as inclination and acceleration through the modulation of light in reaction to the environment. Therefore, one FBG interrogator can work with a lot of FBG sensors to measure many options at the same time at different locations over the vast territory. The sensing signals can be read at distances more than 100 km away.

These features are especially useful for the railway industry because they allow simplifying the installations a lot and reducing costs.

Fiber Bragg Grating Sensors in Field Projects

Over the past few years, specialists have safely held a number of field trial railway projects involving FBG sensors. For example, in 2007, about fifty FBG-based vibration sensors were installed along the East Rail Link that connects Hong Kong and Mainland China. Then fiber optic solutions were applied in metro lines of Hong Kong, part of the Beijing-Shanghai High-speed Rail Link, and in Delhi Airport Metro Express Line.

In Hong Kong this fiber optic technology was applied on a passenger rail system as a structural health monitoring system. The FBG sensors were attached to the bottom of the carriages. The goal was temperature and strain measurement. The fiber optic system supplied all the necessary data including rail tracks’ and carriages’ deformation. The acquired information helped to assess the rates of the corrosion and bearing wear.

According to the results, due to FBG sensors, costs of maintenance were greatly reduced. Moreover, it helped to avoid or prevent problems at early stages due to the early detection of excessive vibrations. All these works showed that FBG sensors are superior in comparison with conventional sensors in many essential aspects.

Nowadays, fiber optic solutions are regarded as one the most cost-effective technology that helps in monitoring the condition and structural health of the carriages, tracks, and under frame equipment in railway systems. There are still some parameters that need to be improved, like the lack of proprietary and custom specifications. However, in the future major railway operators can apply modern FBG sensors, gaining more field experience.

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 Sensors for the Structural Health Monitoring

Structural health monitoring or SHM is a crucial technique thanks to the development of architectural design. Its main goal is ensuring safety for the civil infrastructure. Due to the fiber optic sensors‘ benefits, a great number of the distributed sensing systems have found application in civil engineering as SHM systems.Fiber Optic Sensors for SHM systems

What is a Structural Health Monitoring System?

Structural health monitoring is a technique of evaluating and monitoring structural health. Thanks to its capability to respond to unfavorable changes, this method is widely used in many fields including aerospace, civil, and energy sectors, etc.

Why is SHM necessary?

All structures are vulnerable to various internal and external factors that can lead to wear or malfunction. There are various reasons that can cause it. For instance, deterioration, problems in construction process, an accident or environmental load, etc. That’s why it is important to implement a monitoring system.

Damage identification systems monitor all the changes in rates in real time 24/7. It gives an opportunity to detect deviations quickly and react properly in a short period of time before significant damage is caused. Therefore, timely maintenance and repair actions reduce the repair time and operating costs.

The structural health monitoring systems provide the following benefits:

  • Increased security;
  • Detecting of the damages at an early stage of difficulties;
  • Continuous tracking;
  • Saving of operating costs and time;
  • Development of rational management and maintenance strategies, etc.

Typical Fiber Optic Sensors

In accordance with the increase of the number of buildings’ and bridges’ under construction, the health monitoring of the concrete structures has become a topical issue.

1. Temperature Sensors

Most of all, the health of the concrete structure depends on the temperature influence. Its monitoring influences the general quality and thermal resistance of the entire structure.

At early stages, the temperature shifts affect structure’ cracks and thermal stresses that are usually caused by hydration. Besides, with the help of the two crucial parameters, the maximum temperature and the temperature trend, specialists predict the future structural health.

In addition to that, there is a special system called Distributed Temperature Sensing (DTS) that helps to monitor the cracks that may appear in the concrete structures. Its low cost and well-considered technology are believed to be important advantages in measurement. Other advantages of the FBG temperature sensors are their accurate measurements and fast response. Besides, temperature sensors are perfect for hard-to-reach places and massive sensing networks.

2. Strain Sensors

Another popular type of the fiber optic sensors is FBG strain sensors. To find out the deformation degree, the structure’s density information is used. In fact, the stability of the structure depends on its strength. It is safe when the structure strength is greater than the applied pressure.

After calibration, the unit acquires the features of a force transducer. The strain sensor transfers the component strain accurately. Characteristics such as light phase, frequency, amplitude, or polarization state, allow operators to monitor the health of the structure. All these features change under the influence of deformation.

Due to the common features of the strain sensors, like small size, they are universal sensors for force and load control. They are often used in large machines and steel constructions where there are high loads.

3. Displacement sensors

The other type of sensors are displacement sensors the main task of which is displacement measurement. It becomes possible by the constant measurement of the distance between the sensor and an object.

These FBG sensors are frequently used because they are greatly resistant to external impacts like corrosion and electromagnetic interference. Moreover, they are applied where long term reliability and safety are demanded.

If we compare them to the strain sensors and temperature sensors, FBG displacement sensors can’t measure quantity using only fiber optic sensors. They utilize FBG response to its equivalent Bragg wavelength.

Displacement sensors are perfect for monitoring of the civil engineering structures 24/7. They are suitable for monitoring aircraft, concrete structures and other industrial applications.

4. Pressure sensors

FBG pressure sensors use reflected wavelength analysis. This kind of sensors measure various parameters under severe conditions like high temperature or pressure rates.

The fiber pressure sensor’ operational principle is based on the fact that external factors affect the Bragg wavelengths by influencing the pressure sensor. In such a case, changes of the FBG’s physical or geometrical properties are implicitly measured.

FBG pressure sensors have the same characteristics as the other fiber optic sensors. They are small, portable and provide the highest accuracy and stability.

Usually, fiber pressure sensors measure the levels of liquids and gas in pipelines or tanks. They are used for the indirect flow control in tanks and pipes. FBG pressure sensors are crucially essential in various industrial fields like liquid level monitoring in oil storage tanks, gas turbine engines, etc.

In conclusion, we should say that any of these fiber optic sensors can perform measurements as a structural health monitoring. According to the existing situation and characteristics, the specialists choose the suitable variant, thus ensuring safety for any kind of civil construction.

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 overhead transmission lines’ monitoring

Fiber Bragg grating sensors have a wide range of applications starting from the oil & gas industry and ending with structural health monitoring. However, few people know that FBG sensors are also effectively used to prevent icing on the overhead transmission lines.

According to the statistics, many countries have already faced great accidents and vast economic loss caused by the icing on the overhead transmission lines. The frequent icing load can lead to catastrophic consequences, for example, line breaks, short circuits, and tower collapses. In such disasters, thousands of people find themselves without electricity.

FBG sensors for overhead transmission lines’ monitoring

Fiber optic sensors VS electric ones in icing monitoring

Nowadays, there are different technologies for icing monitoring that can be produced both for individual transmission lines and for the whole energy transport infrastructure. The common ways of icing conditions estimation are dip-sag monitoring, video surveillance, non-contact infrared measurement, etc. All these methods usually can’t give accurate data on icing thickness, and they have got difficulties because of electromagnetic interference with the power supply.

Compared to the traditional sensors, fiber optic sensors improve the effectiveness of accident prevention through monitoring and control with the help of automated instruments and systems.

The main system’s features in icing monitoring are:

  • The system monitors the onset of icing in accordance with changes in the load and sag of the span.
  • The system includes an ice melting system.
  • The system monitors the temperature of the ground wire and switches the melting off automatically.

FBG sensors’ main advantages for icing monitoring

In fact, fiber Bragg grating (FBG) sensors have already turned out to be an excellent solution for solving all the issues where electric sensors failed. In comparison with them, fiber optic sensors apply light for change monitoring in strain, temperature, and other parameters. It means that their accuracy doesn’t depend on electromagnetic interference.

Over recent years, FBG sensors have proved to have a lot of potential in monitoring the transmission lines. Fiber Bragg grating (FBG) sensors’ advantages are:

  • compact size,
  • lightweight,
  • tolerance to corrosion and to electromagnetic interference,
  • resistance to the environmental impact,
  • high-temperature stability,
  • explosion and fire safety,
  • wide range of measurements, etc.

Scientists made FBG sensors able to define the accurate phase without a special reference point. Moreover, they can also suit for grid monitoring and distributed measurement.

Thanks to modern measurement methods such as distributed fiber optic sensors, a complex problem of monitoring the start of the ice formation can be solved, and there is the most effective way to eliminate it.

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 (FBG) sensors for railway monitoring

For the last decade, fiber Bragg grating (FBG) sensors have been attracting more attention from scientists all over the globe thanks to their numeral benefits. Nowadays, they are widely applied in health monitoring, aerospace, civil engineering, oil & gas, smart structures, etc. In this article, we will consider FBG sensors for one of the most used transportation systems, for railways.

FBG sensors in railway transport systems

Railway transport systems have faced a range of difficulties such as longer service availability, providing high safety levels, reduced energy consumption, and optimal operation. Monitoring systems should meet all of these tasks without interruption.

According to many successful pieces of research, fiber optic technology can provide all these aspects at once, it can be applied to ensure railway monitoring. It is important to understand the structural and operating conditions of rails and freight and passenger service cars to provide safe and reliable work.

FBG sensors for railway monitoring

The point is that FBG sensors have many crucial characteristics that perfectly suit railways’ operational conditions. For instance, it is a very long-range interrogation, that is better, especially in comparison with usual electrical sensors. Fiber Bragg Grating sensors are the only sensors that measure all the data and offer it in real-time. FBGs also are low susceptible to fluctuations. Moreover, they can be interrogated from any end.

All these features are especially significant for the railways in providing safe operations. In addition to that, FBGs are universal and can be applied for measuring many other parameters like inclination and acceleration over a large area.

Recent programs with fiber Bragg grating sensors

The most recent project where Fiber Bragg Grating sensors are involved is taken place in India. The main goal is to make the railways there safer with the help of fiber optic technology. Specialists have used sensing technology to reduce travel time and increase the trains’ speed between two states. The railway construction will be conducted by a developed structural health monitoring system.

Thanks to monitoring systems based on fiber optic solutions, rail corporations could easily get real-time data about rail structures’ conditions within 24 hours. Therefore, this feature will fast the warning alerts for possible damage detection. The fiber optic technology can be configured for any type of location and structure, even in vulnerable areas. It is specially referred to as earth slip locations, heavy rainfall areas, etc. However, recently only routine manual inspection is carried out in such cases. Constant monitoring with the FBG sensors will provide real rail safety in such areas.

The government considers that the potential of fiber Bragg grating (FBG) sensors is huge and can be applied in other projects on rail safety. It allows finding the structural defects out as early as possible, not only when an accident occurs. The preventative work gives an opportunity to avoid many troubles and mass casualties that happen.
All in all, thanks to constant real-time monitoring, timely warning alerts, and the possibility of applying in severe environmental circumstances, specialists can use fiber optic technology in many spheres, as well as railways.

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