A new type of demodulation system for low-coherence interferometric sensors based on highly birefringent fibers is presented. The optical path delay introduced by the sensor is compensated in four detection channels by quartz crystalline plates of appropriate thickness. The system can be used to decode a single-point sensor with a resolution of 2.5 × 10<sup>−3</sup> or two serially multiplexed sensors with decreased resolution. In a multiplexed configuration each sensor is served by two detection channels. By tilting the quartz plates, we can tune the initial phase shift between interference signals in successive channels to differ by π/8 or π/4, respectively, for a single-point or a multiplexed configuration. We transferred the sinusoidal intensity changes into digital pulses by appropriate electronic processing, which eventually allows for an unambiguous phase-shift measurement with a resolution of 1/8 or 1/4 of an interference fringe. The system performance for the measurement of hydrostatic pressure changes and simultaneous changes of hydrostatic pressure and temperature is demonstrated. The pressure sensors are based on side-hole fiber to ensure high sensitivity and an operation range of 2.4 MPa. A new configuration for temperature compensation of hydrostatic pressure sensors is proposed, which is better suited for dynamic pressure measurements. In this configuration the sensing and compensating fibers are located in the same compartment of the sensor housing.
© 2001 Optical Society of America
(060.2370) Fiber optics and optical communications : Fiber optics sensors
(060.2420) Fiber optics and optical communications : Fibers, polarization-maintaining
(060.4230) Fiber optics and optical communications : Multiplexing
(120.3180) Instrumentation, measurement, and metrology : Interferometry
Waclaw Urbanczyk, Magdalena S. Nawrocka, and Wojtek J. Bock, "Digital Demodulation System for Low-Coherence Interferometric Sensors Based on Highly Birefringent Fibers," Appl. Opt. 40, 6618-6625 (2001)