Fabrication of multimode fiber optic interferometers requires accurate control of certain parameters to obtain reproducible results. This paper evaluates the consequences of practical challenges in fabricating reflection-based, fiber optic interferometers by the use of theory and experiments. A guided-mode propagation approach is used to investigate the effect of the end-face cleave angle and the accuracy of the splice in core-mismatched fiber optic sensors. Cleave angles from high-end fiber cleavers give differences in optical path lengths approaching the wavelength close to the circumference of the fiber, and the core-mismatched splice decides the ensemble of cladding modes excited. This investigation shows that the cleave angle may significantly alter the spectrum, whereas the splice is more robust. It is found that the interferometric visibility can be decreased by up to 70% for cleave angles typically obtained. An offset splice may reduce the visibility, but for offsets experienced experimentally the effect is negligible. An angled splice is found not to affect the visibility but causes a lower overall intensity in the spectrum. The sensitivity to the interferometer length is estimated to 60 nm/mm, which means that a 17 µm difference in length will shift the spectrum 1 nm. Comparisons to experimental results indicate that the spliced region also plays a significant role in the resulting spectrum.
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