Jul, 2022 - By SMI
Researchers developed a new sensor using extremely thin strands of sapphire that can withstand extreme heat and radiation, with potential to enable promising improvements in aerospace and power generation
Sapphire optical fiber holds capability of withstanding extreme temperatures and high radiation. However, its multimode form restricts its use in several sensing applications. Now researchers at Oxford University developed using extremely thin strands of sapphire that can withstand extreme heat and radiation, with the potential for promising improvements in emission reduction and efficiency in power generation and aerospace. According to the scientists this new sensor may be used in harsh environments of nuclear fusion reactors and allow more streamlined air travel.
The new study focuses on a Fiber Bragg grating (FBG) sensor that can be utilized in motoring things such as temperature and strain in ideal communication systems. The FBG is made of sapphire fibers and it provides significant stability at higher temperatures. Moreover, as sapphire has resistance towards radiation, it can be used in nuclear reactors and also in space. However, this sapphire FBGs lack in some aspects such as these fibers being very fine yet thicker than the wavelength of light allowing injected light to go around in different wavelengths. Thus, in this new study, the scientists utilized femtosecond lasers for etching a channel along the length of the sapphire fiber in order to direct the light on straight path.
Furthermore, the use of femtosecond lasers created a sapphire FBG sensor that mainly reflected a single wavelength of light. This new sapphire fiber sensor reportedly measures only a centimeter long, however, the team is working on developing longer versions of this sensor. According to the team, this new sensor could be used in aerospace applications allowing for monitoring of temperature in a jet engine.
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