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Sensors 2016, 16(9), 1387; doi:10.3390/s16091387

Advanced Spatial-Division Multiplexed Measurement Systems Propositions—From Telecommunication to Sensing Applications: A Review

1
NEC Laboratories America, Inc., Princeton, NJ 08540, USA
2
Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Lafayette, LA 70504, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Manuel Lopez-Amo, Jose Miguel Lopez-Higuera and Jose Luis Santos
Received: 19 June 2016 / Revised: 23 August 2016 / Accepted: 24 August 2016 / Published: 30 August 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Optical Fiber Sensors 2016)

Abstract

The concepts of spatial-division multiplexing (SDM) technology were first proposed in the telecommunications industry as an indispensable solution to reduce the cost-per-bit of optical fiber transmission. Recently, such spatial channels and modes have been applied in optical sensing applications where the returned echo is analyzed for the collection of essential environmental information. The key advantages of implementing SDM techniques in optical measurement systems include the multi-parameter discriminative capability and accuracy improvement. In this paper, to help readers without a telecommunication background better understand how the SDM-based sensing systems can be incorporated, the crucial components of SDM techniques, such as laser beam shaping, mode generation and conversion, multimode or multicore elements using special fibers and multiplexers are introduced, along with the recent developments in SDM amplifiers, opto-electronic sources and detection units of sensing systems. The examples of SDM-based sensing systems not only include Brillouin optical time-domain reflectometry or Brillouin optical time-domain analysis (BOTDR/BOTDA) using few-mode fibers (FMF) and the multicore fiber (MCF) based integrated fiber Bragg grating (FBG) sensors, but also involve the widely used components with their whole information used in the full multimode constructions, such as the whispering gallery modes for fiber profiling and chemical species measurements, the screw/twisted modes for examining water quality, as well as the optical beam shaping to improve cantilever deflection measurements. Besides, the various applications of SDM sensors, the cost efficiency issue, as well as how these complex mode multiplexing techniques might improve the standard fiber-optic sensor approaches using single-mode fibers (SMF) and photonic crystal fibers (PCF) have also been summarized. Finally, we conclude with a prospective outlook for the opportunities and challenges of SDM technologies in optical sensing industry. View Full-Text
Keywords: optical fiber sensors; multiplexing; Brillouin scattering; structural health monitoring; distributed sensors; optical fabrication; birefringence; acoustic wave; fiber Bragg grating; optical time domain reflectrometer (OTDR) optical fiber sensors; multiplexing; Brillouin scattering; structural health monitoring; distributed sensors; optical fabrication; birefringence; acoustic wave; fiber Bragg grating; optical time domain reflectrometer (OTDR)
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Weng, Y.; Ip, E.; Pan, Z.; Wang, T. Advanced Spatial-Division Multiplexed Measurement Systems Propositions—From Telecommunication to Sensing Applications: A Review. Sensors 2016, 16, 1387.

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