All-fiber, thermo-optic liquid level sensor

This paper proposes an all-optical-fiber sensor for continuous measurements of liquid levels. The proposed sensor utilizes an optically absorbing vanadium doped optical fiber, which is configured as a long-gauge, optically-heated, fiber-optic, Fabry-Perot interferometer that is immersed into the measured liquid. The sensor is excited cyclically by a medium-power 980 nm optical source, which induces periodic temperature variation and, consequently, optical path length modulation within the vanadium doped fiber. The amplitude of this path length variation depends on the liquid level and is measured by an interferometric approach. The relation between the liquid level and the amplitude of optical path length modulation caused by the fiber’s temperature variation were investigated analytically, and the theoretical model proved to be in good agreement with the experimental results. Two versions of level sensors are demonstrated experimentally, the first with single-side optical heating power delivery and 0.45 m measurement range, and the second with dual-side power delivery and 1 m of operational measurement span. Experimental measurement level resolutions achieved for 0.45 m and 1m operational measurement span were approximately 2 and 3 mm, respectively. The simple and efficient design of sensor and signal interrogation system, the latter is based solely on a few widely available telecom components, provides straightforward opportunities for use of the proposed system in a variety of industrial applications.

© 2018 Optical Society of America under the terms of the OSA Open Access Publishing Agreement