A compact fiber-optic vector rotation sensor in which a short section of polarization-maintaining (PM) fiber stub containing a straight fiber Bragg grating (FBG) is spliced to another single mode fiber without any lateral offset is proposed and experimentally demonstrated. Due to the intrinsic birefringence of the PM fiber, two well-defined resonances (i.e. orthogonally polarized FBG core modes) with wavelength separation of 0.5 nm have been achieved in reflection, and they exhibit a high sensitivity to fiber rotation. Both the orientation and the angle of rotation can be determined unambiguously via simple power detection of the relative amplitudes of the orthogonal core reflections. Meanwhile, instead of using a broadband source (BBS), the sensor is powered by a commercial vertical cavity surface emitting laser (VCSEL) with the laser wavelength matched to the PM-FBG core modes, which enables the sensor to work at much higher power levels (̃15 dB better than BBS). This improves the signal-tonoise ratio considerably (̃50 dB), and makes a demodulation filter unnecessary. Vector rotation measurement with a sensitivity of 0.09 dB/deg has been achieved via cost-effective single detector real time power measurement, and the unwanted power fluctuations and temperature perturbations can be effectively referenced out.

Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
Optics Express
Department of Electronics

Guo, T, Liu, F. (Fu), Du, F. (Fa), Zhang, Z. (Zhaochuan), Li, C. (Chunjie), Guan, B.-O. (Bai-Ou), & Albert, J. (2013). VCSEL-powered and polarization-maintaining fiber-optic grating vector rotation sensor. Optics Express, 21(16), 19097–19102. doi:10.1364/OE.21.019097