A fiber-optic gas sensor and method for the measurement of refractive index dispersion in NIR

This paper presents a method for gas concentration determination based on the measurement of the refractive index dispersion of a gas near the gas resonance in the near-infrared region (NIR). The gas refractive index dispersion line shape is reconstructed from the variation in the spectral interference fringes’ periods, which are generated by a low-finesse Fabry-Perot interferometer during the DFB diode’s linear-over-time optical frequency sweep around the gas resonance frequency. The entire sensing system was modeled and then verified experimentally, for an example of a low concentration methane-air mixture. We demonstrate experimentally a refractive index dispersion measurement resolution of 2 × 10−9 refractive index units (RIU), which corresponds to a change in methane concentration in air of 0.04 vol% at the resonant frequency of 181.285 THz (1653.7 nm). The experimental and modeling results show an excellent agreement. The presented system utilizes a very simple optical design and has good potential for the realization of cost-efficient gas sensors that can be operated remotely through standard telecom optical fibers.

Sensors2020, 20(13), 3717; https://doi.org/10.3390/s20133717