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Optics Express

Optics Express

  • Editor: C. Martijn de Sterke
  • Vol. 18, Iss. 14 — Jul. 5, 2010
  • pp: 15113–15121
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Highly birefringent microstructured fibers with enhanced sensitivity to hydrostatic pressure

Tadeusz Martynkien, Gabriela Statkiewicz-Barabach, Jacek Olszewski, Jan Wojcik, Paweł Mergo, Thomas Geernaert, Camille Sonnenfeld, Alicja Anuszkiewicz, Marcin K. Szczurowski, Karol Tarnowski, Mariusz Makara, Krzysztof Skorupski, Jacek Klimek, Krzysztof Poturaj, Waclaw Urbanczyk, Tomasz Nasilowski, Francis Berghmans, and Hugo Thienpont  »View Author Affiliations


Optics Express, Vol. 18, Issue 14, pp. 15113-15121 (2010)
http://dx.doi.org/10.1364/OE.18.015113


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Abstract

We designed, manufactured and characterized two birefringent microstructured fibers that feature a 5-fold increase in polarimetric sensitivity to hydrostatic pressure compared to the earlier reported values for microstructured fibers. We demonstrate a good agreement between the finite element simulations and the experimental values for the polarimetric sensitivity to pressure and to temperature. The sensitivity to hydrostatic pressure has a negative sign and exceeds −43 rad/MPa × m at 1.55 μm for both fibers. In combination with the very low sensitivity to temperature, this makes our fibers the candidates of choice for the development of microstructured fiber based hydrostatic pressure measurement systems.

© 2010 OSA

1. Introduction

A crucial factor governing the potential of a particular optical fiber to carry out a specific sensing task remains its cross-sensitivity to temperature. Birefringent MSFs are most often made of glass with a uniform composition in the entire cross-section. Therefore, and in contrast to what occurs in standard fibers, there is no thermal stress induced by the difference in thermal expansion coefficients between the doped core region and the cladding in a MSF. The experimental results published so far indicate that the polarimetric sensitivity to temperature K T in HB MSFs strongly depends on the fiber geometry and can be up to 3 orders of magnitudes lower than in standard elliptical core fibers [17

17. W. J. Bock, and W. Urbanczyk, “Measurements of sensitivity of birefringent holey fiber to temperature, elongation, and hydrostatic pressure,” Proc. of the 21st IEEE-Instrumentation and Measurement Technology Conference (Como, Italy 18–20 MAY 2004) vol. 2, pp. 1228–1232.

19

19. C. H. L. Zhao, X. Yang, Ch. Lu, W. Jin, and M. S. Demokan, “Temperature-insensitive interferometer using a highly birefringent photonic crystal fiber loop mirror,” IEEE Photon. Technol. Lett. 16(11), 2535–2537 (2004). [CrossRef]

, 26

26. T. Martynkien, M. Szpulak, and W. Urbanczyk, “Modeling and measurement of temperature sensitivity in birefringent photonic crystal holey fibers,” Appl. Opt. 44(36), 7780–7788 (2005). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

, 27

27. T. Martynkien, G. Statkiewicz, M. Szpulak, J. Olszewski, G. Gołojuch, W. Urbanczyk, J. Wojcik, P. Mergo, M. Makara, T. Nasilowski, F. Berghmans, and H. Thienpont, “Measurements of polarimetric sensitivity to temperature in birefringent holey fibers,” Meas. Sci. Technol. 18(10), 3055–3060 (2007). [CrossRef]

].

In this work, we present two novel designs for HB MSFs with a polarimetric sensitivity to hydrostatic pressure that exceeds previously reported values for microstructured fibers with a factor of 5 [20

20. G. Statkiewicz, T. Martynkien, and W. Urbanczyk, “Measurements of modal birefringence and polarymetic sensitivity of the birefringent holey fiber to hydrostatic pressure and strain,” Opt. Commun. 241(4-6), 339–348 (2004). [CrossRef]

23

23. Y. S. Shinde and H. K. Gahir, “Dynamic pressure sensing study using photonic crystal fiber: Application to tsunami sensing,” IEEE Photon. Technol. Lett. 20(4), 279–281 (2008). [CrossRef]

]. Whilst our fibers include a germanium doped inclusion in the core to allow inscribing Bragg gratings, the ratio K P/K T, which is an important figure of merit for such fibers, reaches record values of 980 K/MPa and 540 K/MPa. Our MSFs are therefore excellent candidates for hydrostatic pressure measurement systems without need for temperature compensation.

Our paper is further structured as follows. Section 2 deals with the actual design targets and strategy. In section 3 we detail the experimental results and we compare the measured values for polarimetric pressure and temperature sensitivities to those obtained with finite element simulations carried out on the actual microstructure of the fabricated fibers. Section 4 closes our paper with the general conclusions.

2. Microstructured fiber designs

Enlarging the diameter of selected holes can optimize the required mechanical asymmetry in the microstructured cladding. This prevents applied external stress from being transferred into the core region along one of the fiber symmetry axes and enhances the polarimetric sensitivity to pressure. Using this reasoning and by applying the numerical approach shortly outlined in the following paragraphs, we have analyzed several fiber structures. We aimed at obtaining designs that fulfilled the following requirements:

  • (i) a significantly increased polarimetric sensitivity to hydrostatic pressure relying on relatively simple cross-section features to allow effective and repeatable manufacturing of the fiber;
  • (ii) a germanium doped core that allows inscribing Bragg gratings with conventional ultraviolet inscription techniques so that the fiber cannot only be used as an active element in interferometric or polarimetric sensors but also as a host for Bragg grating sensors;
  • (iii) a phase modal birefringence larger than 10−3 at 1.55 μm to minimize coupling between the polarization modes that can possibly be induced by external perturbations, for example by mounting the fiber in the sensing head. Moreover birefringence greater than 10−3 assures sufficient (at least λBx-λBy = 1.5 nm) separation of the Bragg peaks (each corresponding to one of the orthogonally polarized modes) thus allowing for a differential interrogation without using any polarizing elements in the detection system. It is worth to mention that direct measurements of that Bragg peak wavelength separation provides a very convenient way for monitoring birefringence changes;
  • (iv) a low polarimetric sensitivity to temperature K T to allow for hydrostatic pressure measurements with no need for temperature compensation.

In the simulations, we considered a relatively small concentration of GeO2 in the doped inclusions, with a maximum of 3 mol%. Such GeO2 concentrations are sufficient to inscribe Bragg gratings for sensing applications in the MSFs [31

31. T. Geernaert, M. Becker, T. Nasilowski, J. Wojcik, W. Urbanczyk, M. Rothhardt, Ch. Chojetzki, H. Bartelt, H. Terryn, F. Berghmans, and H. Thienpont, “Bragg Grating Inscription in GeO2-doped Microstructured Optical Fibers,” J. Lightwave Technol. 28(10), 1459–1467 (2010). [CrossRef]

], while maintaining the increase of the polarimetric sensitivity to temperature within very acceptable limits.

The thermal response of germanium doped MSFs is known to stem from [26

26. T. Martynkien, M. Szpulak, and W. Urbanczyk, “Modeling and measurement of temperature sensitivity in birefringent photonic crystal holey fibers,” Appl. Opt. 44(36), 7780–7788 (2005). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

, 32

32. N. Imoto, N. Yoshizawa, J. Sakai, and H. Tsuchiya, “Birefringence in single-mode optical fiber due to elliptical core deformation and stress anisotropy,” IEEE J. Quantum Electron. 18, 53–58 (1982).

]:

  • (i) a temperature induced variation of the refractive index (thermooptic effect) in the glass and in the air filling the holes characterized by the respective thermooptic coefficients dn/dT and dn air/dT;
  • (ii) an expansion of the fibre in the radial and longitudinal directions described by the thermal expansion coefficient α;
  • (iii) the variation of the stress distribution throughout the MSF cross-section related to the different thermal expansion coefficients of pure silica and the doped region.

Figure 1
Fig. 1 SEM images of the fabricated fibers with enhanced sensitivity to hydrostatic pressure.
depicts the SEM images of two MSFs with enhanced K P that meet our design targets. Both fibers contain a germanium-doped core in a nearly elliptical shape, with longer axis parallel to the x-coordinates of our reference system.

Table 1. Material constants used in numerical simulations.

table-icon
View This Table

3. Measurement and simulation results

Part of the investigated fiber (about 0.5 m long) was installed in a pressure or temperature chamber. The transmission azimuth of the polarizer (P) was adjusted at 45° with respect to the fiber polarization axes to excite both polarization modes. The light from the fiber output was collimated by lens O2, then passed through a Soleil compensator (SC), a Wollaston prism (WP) and an analyzer (A) and was finally registered by a CCD camera. The polarization axes of the Wollaston prism were aligned parallel with the polarization axes of the investigated fiber thus allowing to observe an interference of the fiber polarization modes. Temperature or pressure variations induced a phase change between the polarization modes that in turn caused a displacement of the interference fringes registered by the CCD camera.

The change of the phase shift Δφ induced by a hydrostatic pressure change Δp in the range from 0 MPa to 10 MPa was very high and allowed determining Δφ(Δp) straightforwardly by counting the interference fringes that moved with respect to the reference point. For each measurement wavelength, the polarimetric sensitivity to pressure was calculated using the following relation:
KP=Δφ(Δp)LΔp=2πLΔMΔp,
(4)
where ΔM is the number of fringes that moved in response to a pressure increase Δp, and L is the fiber length exposed to pressure.

The temperature sensitivity measurements were carried out using bare fibers to avoid any influence of the polymer coating on the temperature response [35

35. K. Bohnert, A. Frank, E. Rochat, K. Haroud, and H. Brändle, “Polarimetric fiber laser sensor for hydrostatic pressure,” Appl. Opt. 43(1), 41–48 (2004). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

]. A portion of the fiber was exposed to temperature changes in the range from 20°C to 250°C. The temperature induced phase shift was typically lower than a fraction of the interference fringe. We therefore used a Soleil compensator to increase the measurement resolution. K T was determined using Eq. (4), where in this case ΔM stands for the fraction of the interference fringe measured using the Soleil compensator. We observed a linear response to hydrostatic pressure and temperature changes with no sign of hysteresis in both MSFs. The measurements were repeated six times for sake of statistical relevance. The estimated measurement uncertainty is about 10% for K T and about 3% for K P.

To verify our numerical approach the results of the measurements carried out in a wide spectral range were compared with the results of simulations obtained for the actual MSF geometry. The edges of the holes in the cladding and the doped inclusion were automatically detected by image processing of the SEM micrographs. We obtained a binary image of the fiber cross-sections that was used as a mask to generate the mesh for the FEM, which reflected the real shape and location of each hole and the doped inclusion with a precision of about 20 nm. To assure high numerical accuracy of our results, we applied a mesh composed of about 500 000 elements.

The experimental and numerical results for the polarimetric sensitivity to hydrostatic pressure vs. wavelength are compared in Fig. 4
Fig. 4 Polarimetric sensitivity to hydrostatic pressure and temperature measured vs. wavelength in fiber A (a,c) and in fiber B (b,d). The measurements results are indicated by dots while the solid lines represent the results of simulations.
. The very good agreement between measurements and calculations supports the validity of our modeling approach. In both fibers the spectral dependence of K P is very similar and follows a 1/λ function. In the short wavelength range, at λ = 0.83 μm, K P reaches −90 rad/MPa×m, while at λ = 1.55 μm K P equals approximately −43 rad/MPa×m in both fibers. These values are very similar to the sensitivity of conventional Side-Hole fiber developed for hydrostatic pressure measurements [36

36. H. M. Xie, Ph. Dabkiewicz, R. Ulrich, and K. Okamoto, “Side-hole fiber for fiber-optic pressure sensing,” Opt. Lett. 11(5), 333–335 (1986). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

]. The Side-Hole fiber comprised a doped core located between two large holes inducing high mechanical asymmetry.

Figure 4 also shows that the absolute value of K T decreases with wavelength and at λ = 0.83 μm, K T equals −0.125 rad/K×m in both fibers. Because of a stronger dispersion of K T in fiber A, the temperature sensitivity in this fiber at λ = 1.55 μm is only −0.044 rad/K×m, while in fiber B it has a larger value of −0.08 rad/K×m. The doped inclusion generating thermal stress causes K T to be about one order of magnitude larger than in pure silica PCFs. Whilst this is the price to pay for providing the possibility of fabricating Bragg gratings with conventional ultraviolet inscription techniques, K T is still one order of magnitude lower compared to the value in conventional elliptical core fibers.

4. Conclusions

We have designed and fabricated two highly birefringent MSFs with enhanced sensitivity to hydrostatic pressure. The two MSFs differ in their airhole layout in the microstructured cladding. The fibers have a germanium doped inclusion to allow conventional ultraviolet Bragg grating inscription. The general strategy in designing the airhole distribution in the microstructured cladding was to break, in as much as possible, the mechanical symmetry of the structure while ensuring repeatable and effective manufacturability of the fibers.

Measurements performed in a broad wavelength range showed that the polarimetric sensitivity to hydrostatic pressure has a negative sign, decreases against wavelength and reaches −43 rad/MPa×m at 1.55 μm in both fibers. At the same time, the sensitivity to temperature remains relatively low and equals respectively −0.044 rad/K×m and −0.08 rad/K×m at 1.55 μm, respectively in the fiber A and fiber B. This results in a record figure of merit K P/K T at 1.55 μm, which equals 980 K/MPa in fiber A and 540 K/MPa in fiber B.

An advantage of the proposed fibers over the Side-Hole fibers in pressure sensing based on Bragg gratings lays in unique combination of three features:

  • (i) high polarimetric sensitivity to pressure resulting in high differential sensitivity of the grating inscribed in such fiber;
  • (ii) high birefringence resulting in very good separation of Bragg peaks corresponding to different polarization modes thus allowing for interrogation without polarization discrimination;
  • (iii) low concentration of GeO2, which on one hand allows for fast and repeatable fabrication of Bragg gratings, while on the other hand does not increase significantly KT.

Acknowledgement

The work described in this paper was carried out with the support of the PHOSFOS-project (“Photonic Skins for Optical Sensing”), funded by the European Commission through the 7th ICT-Framework Programme. W. Urbanczyk acknowledges the Statutory Grant at Wroclaw University of Technology. J. Olszewski and G. Statkiewicz-Barabach acknowledge the Foundation for Polish Science FNP Program “START” and the fellowship co-financed by EU within European Social Funds. G. Statkiewicz-Barabach, J. Olszewski, A. Anuszkiewicz, K. Tarnowski, M. K. Szczurowski, acknowledge support of the FNP Program “MISTRZ”. T. Geernaert was funded by the Institute for the Promotion of Innovation through Science and Technology in Flanders (IWT-Vlaanderen). This work was also supported in part by the COST 299 action “FIDES” and the IWT SBO project “FAOS”. The Methusalem and Hercules Foundation, the Network of Excellence on Micro-Optics “NEMO”, the Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO-Vlaanderen), IAP and GOA are acknowledged as well. The SEM images were made by the Department SURF of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel.

References and Links

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W. J. Bock, and W. Urbanczyk, “Measurements of sensitivity of birefringent holey fiber to temperature, elongation, and hydrostatic pressure,” Proc. of the 21st IEEE-Instrumentation and Measurement Technology Conference (Como, Italy 18–20 MAY 2004) vol. 2, pp. 1228–1232.

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C. M. Jewart, Q. Wang, J. Canning, D. Grobnic, S. J. Mihailov, and K. P. Chen, “Ultrafast femtosecond-laser-induced fiber Bragg gratings in air-hole microstructured fibers for high-temperature pressure sensing,” Opt. Lett. 35(9), 1443–1445 (2010). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

43.

D. S. Moon, B. H. Kim, A. Lin, G. Sun, Y.-G. Han, W.-T. Han, and Y. Chung, “The temperature sensitivity of Sagnac loop interferometer based on polarization maintaining side-hole fiber,” Opt. Express 15(13), 7962–7967 (2007), http://www.opticsinfobase.org/abstract.cfm?URI=oe-15-13-7962. [CrossRef] [PubMed]

OCIS Codes
(060.2270) Fiber optics and optical communications : Fiber characterization
(060.2370) Fiber optics and optical communications : Fiber optics sensors
(060.2420) Fiber optics and optical communications : Fibers, polarization-maintaining
(060.4005) Fiber optics and optical communications : Microstructured fibers
(060.5295) Fiber optics and optical communications : Photonic crystal fibers

ToC Category:
Fiber Optics and Optical Communications

History
Original Manuscript: April 9, 2010
Revised Manuscript: June 8, 2010
Manuscript Accepted: June 10, 2010
Published: June 30, 2010

Citation
Tadeusz Martynkien, Gabriela Statkiewicz-Barabach, Jacek Olszewski, Jan Wojcik, Paweł Mergo, Thomas Geernaert, Camille Sonnenfeld, Alicja Anuszkiewicz, Marcin K. Szczurowski, Karol Tarnowski, Mariusz Makara, Krzysztof Skorupski, Jacek Klimek, Krzysztof Poturaj, Waclaw Urbanczyk, Tomasz Nasilowski, Francis Berghmans, and Hugo Thienpont, "Highly birefringent microstructured fibers with enhanced sensitivity to hydrostatic pressure," Opt. Express 18, 15113-15121 (2010)
http://www.opticsinfobase.org/oe/abstract.cfm?URI=oe-18-14-15113


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References

  1. C. Kerbage and B. Eggleton, “Numerical analysis and experimental design of tunable birefringence in microstructured optical fiber,” Opt. Express 10(5), 246–255 (2002), http://www.opticsinfobase.org/oe/abstract.cfm?URI=oe-10-5-246 . [PubMed]
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