Modeling and evaluating the performance of Brillouin distributed optical fiber sensors
A thorough analysis of the key factors impacting on the performance of Brillouin distributed optical fiber sensors is presented. An analytical expression is derived to estimate the error on the determination of the Brillouin peak gain frequency, based for the first time on real experimental conditions. This expression is experimentally validated, and describes how this frequency uncertainty depends on measurement parameters, such as Brillouin gain linewidth, frequency scanning step and signal-to-noise ratio. Based on the model leading to this expression and considering the limitations imposed by nonlinear effects and pump depletion, a figure-of-merit is proposed to fairly compare the performance of Brillouin distributed sensing systems. This figure-of-merit offers to the research community and to potential users the possibility to evaluate with an objective metric the real performance gain resulting from any proposed configuration.