Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Flying particle sensors in hollow-core photonic crystal fibre

D. S. Bykov, O. A. Schmidt, T. G. Euser & P. St. J. Russell

Optical fibre sensors make use of diverse physical effects to measure parameters such as strain, temperature and electric field. Here we introduce a new class of reconfigurable fibre sensor, based on a ‘flying-particle’ optically trapped inside a hollow-core photonic crystal fibre and illustrate its use in electric field and temperature sensing with high spatial resolution. The electric field distribution near the surface of a multi-element electrode is measured with a resolution of ∼100 μm by monitoring changes in the transmitted light signal due to the transverse displacement of a charged silica microparticle trapped within the hollow core. Doppler-based velocity measurements are used to map the gas viscosity, and thus the temperature, along a hollow-core photonic crystal fibre. The flying-particle approach represents a new paradigm in fibre sensors, potentially allowing multiple physical quantities to be mapped with high positional accuracy over kilometre-scale distances.

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