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Proceedings Paper

Analysis of the transient response of erbium fibre lasers and application for sensors
Author(s): George Stewart; Gillian Whitenett; Brian Culshaw
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Paper Abstract

Many types of optical fibre sensor are based on either sensitive measurement of optical attenuation or on spectral measurements involving absorption at specific wavelengths or a shift in wavelength, for example, chemical analysis based on spectroscopy, or strain and temperature sensors based on fibre Bragg gratings. Measurements are normally performed under steady-state conditions. Here we propose a technique for optical sensors based on analysis of the transient output of fibre lasers containing an intra-cavity cell or sensor element which affects the attenuation or spectral characteristics of the cavity. We report a detailed theoretical and experimental study of the dynamics of erbium fibre ring lasers. Time domain analysis of the transient involves measurement of parameters such as build-up time and characteristics of the relaxation oscillations which are dependent on the cavity parameters. Spectral domain analysis involves monitoring the detailed optical spectrum during the build-up period. Due to the multiple circulations of light within the cavity during this period, monitoring the spectral evolution may provide high-sensitivity spectroscopic data on absorption lines of gases within an intra-cavity cell. A key challenge, however, is the experimental capture of mode evolution which requires high resolution spectra to be collected during the build-up period.

Paper Details

Date Published: 20 October 2006
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 6371, Photonic Sensing Technologies, 63710N (20 October 2006); doi: 10.1117/12.684669

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6371:
Photonic Sensing Technologies
Michael A. Marcus; Brian Culshaw; John P. Dakin, Editor(s)

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