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Proceedings Paper

The evolution and exploitation of the fiber-optic hydrophone
Author(s): David J. Hill
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Paper Abstract

In the late 1970s one of the first applications identified for fibre-optic sensing was the fibre-optic hydrophone. It was recognised that the technology had the potential to provide a cost effective solution for large-scale arrays of highly sensitive hydrophones which could be interrogated over large distances. Consequently both the United Kingdom and United States navies funded the development of this sonar technology to the point that it is now deployed on submarines and as seabed arrays. The basic design of a fibre-optic hydrophone has changed little; comprising a coil of optical fibre wound on a compliant mandrel, interrogated using interferometric techniques. Although other approaches are being investigated, including the development of fibre-laser hydrophones, the interferometric approach remains the most efficient way to create highly multiplexed arrays of acoustic sensors. So much so, that the underlying technology is now being exploited in civil applications. Recently the exploration and production sector of the oil and gas industry has begun funding the development of fibre-optic seismic sensing using seabed mounted, very large-scale arrays of four component (three accelerometers and a hydrophone) packages based upon the original technology developed for sonar systems. This has given new impetus to the development of the sensors and the associated interrogation systems which has led to the technology being adopted for other commercial uses. These include the development of networked in-road fibre-optic Weigh-in-Motion sensors and of intruder detection systems which are able to acoustically monitor long lengths of border, on both land and at sea. After two decades, the fibre-optic hydrophone and associated technology has matured and evolved into a number of highly capable sensing solutions used by a range of industries.

Paper Details

Date Published: 2 July 2007
PDF: 4 pages
Proc. SPIE 6619, Third European Workshop on Optical Fibre Sensors, 661907 (2 July 2007); doi: 10.1117/12.738337
Show Author Affiliations
David J. Hill, QinetiQ Ltd. (United Kingdom)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6619:
Third European Workshop on Optical Fibre Sensors

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