In microfluidic chip applications, the flow rate plays an important role. Here we propose a simple liquid flow rate sensor by using a tilted fiber Bragg grating (TFBG) as the sensing element. As the water flows in the vicinity of the TFBG along the fiber axis direction, the TFBG’s spectrum changes due to its contact with water. By comparing the time-swept spectra of the TFBG in water to that of the TFBG with water flowing over it, a spectral sweep comb was formed, and the flow rate can be detected by selecting a suitable sweeping frequency. The proposed sensor has a high Q-value of over 17,000 for the lower rate and a large detectable range from 0.0058 mm/s to 3.2 mm/s. And the calculated corresponding lower detectable flow rate of 0.03 nL/s is 3 orders magnitude better than that of the current fiber flowmeter. Meanwhile, the proposed sensor has the temperature self-compensation function for the variation of the external temperature. We believe that this simple configuration will open a research direction of the TFBG-deriving theory and configuration for lower flow rate measurements for microfluidic chip applications.

Additional Metadata
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1364/OL.43.000751
Journal Optics Letters
Citation
Shen, C. (Changyu), Lian, X. (Xiaokang), Kavungal, V. (Vishnu), Zhong, C. (Chuan), Liu, D. (Dejun), Semenova, Y. (Yuliya), … Donegan, J.F. (John F). (2018). Optical spectral sweep comb liquid flow rate sensor. Optics Letters, 43(4), 751–754. doi:10.1364/OL.43.000751