Small lateral forces (lower than 0.1 N) cannot normally be measured with conventional single-mode fiber-based sensors because of the high value of their Young modulus (>70 GPa). Here we demonstrate the measurement of lateral forces in the range from 0.2 to 1.4 × 10−3 N with a tilted fiber Bragg grating (TFBG) in conventional single-mode fiber pushed against the surface tension (ST) of a bead of water. The measured transmission changes of individual cladding mode resonances of the TFBG corresponding to these force values are of the order of 29 dB. Separate measurements of the contact angle between the surface of the water and the fiber are used to calibrate the sensor with help from the known value of ST for water. Once calibrated, a TFBG can be used to measure unknown forces in the same range or to measure an unknown ST, provided a separate force measurement is available.

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Journal Optics Letters
Shen, C. (Changyu), Zhong, C. (Chuan), Liu, D. (Dejun), Lian, X. (Xiaokang), Zheng, J. (Jianyao), Wang, J. (Jingjing), … Donegan, J.F. (John F.). (2018). Measurements of milli-Newton surface tension forces with tilted fiber Bragg gratings. Optics Letters, 43(2), 255–258. doi:10.1364/OL.43.000255