With the rise of modern infrastructure and systems, testing and evaluation of specific components such as structural health monitoring is becoming increasingly important. Fiber optic sensors are ideal for testing and evaluating these systems due many advantages such as their lightweight, compact, and dielectric nature. This thesis presents a novel method for detecting electric fields in harsh environments with slab coupled optical sensors (SCOS) as well as a novel method for detecting strain gradients on a Hopkinson bar specimen using fiber Bragg gratings (FBG). Fiber optic electric field sensors are ideal for characterizing the electric field in many different systems. Unfortunately many of these systems such as railguns or plasma discharge systems produce one or more noise types such as vibrational noise that contribute to a harsh environment on the fiber optic sensor. When fiber optic sensors are placed in a harsh environment, multiple noise types can overwhelm the measurement from the fiber optic sensor. To make the fiber optic sensor suitable for a harsh environment it must be able to overcome all these noise types simultaneously to operate in a harsh environment rather than just overcome a single noise type. This work shows how to eliminate three different noise types in a fiber optic sensor induced by a harsh environment simultaneously. Specifically, non-localized vibration induced interferometric noise is up converted to higher frequency bands by single tone phase modulation. Then localized vibrational noise, and radio frequency (RF) noise are all eliminated using a push-pull SCOS configuration to allow for an optical measurement of an electric field in a harsh environment. The development and validation of a high-speed, full-spectrum measurement technique is described for fiber Bragg grating sensors in this work. A fiber Bragg grating is surface mounted to a split Hopkinson tensile bar specimen to induce high strain rates. The high strain gradients and large strains which indicate material failure are analyzed under high strain rates up to 500 s-1. The fiber Bragg grating is interrogated using a high-speed full-spectrum solid state interrogator with a repetition rate of 100 kHz. The captured deformed spectra are analyzed for strain gradients using a default interior point algorithm in combination with the modified transfer matrix approach. This work shows that by using high-speed full-spectrum interrogation of a fiber Bragg grating and the modified transfer matrix method, highly localized strain gradients and discontinuities can be measured without a direct line of sight.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Electrical and Computer Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





Fiber Optics, SCOS, electric field sensing