Infoscience

Journal article

Random-access distributed fiber sensing

Optical sensing offers an attractive solution to the societal concern for prevention of natural and human-generated threats and for efficient use of natural resources. The unprecedented properties of optical fibers make them ideal for implementing a ‘nervous system’ in structural health monitoring: they are small, low-cost and electrically and chemically inert. In particular, the nonlinear interaction of stimulated Brillouin scattering allows for the distributed measurement of strain and temperature with tens of km range. In this work, a novel, radar-inspired technique for random-access Brillouin scattering-based sensors is shown, making a significant step towards a real optical sensing nerve. The method selectively addresses each fiber segment as a distinct sensing element in a synaptic neuronal system. The measurement principle relies on phase-coding of both the Brillouin pump and signal waves by a high-rate, pseudo-random bit sequence. Temperature measurements with 1 cm resolution are reported. The measurement range is scalable to several km.

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