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13 May 2010 Optical fiber sensors embedded in flexible polymer foils
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In traditional electrical sensing applications, multiplexing and interconnecting the different sensing elements is a major challenge. Recently, many optical alternatives have been investigated including optical fiber sensors of which the sensing elements consist of fiber Bragg gratings. Different sensing points can be integrated in one optical fiber solving the interconnection problem and avoiding any electromagnetical interference (EMI). Many new sensing applications also require flexible or stretchable sensing foils which can be attached to or wrapped around irregularly shaped objects such as robot fingers and car bumpers or which can even be applied in biomedical applications where a sensor is fixed on a human body. The use of these optical sensors however always implies the use of a light-source, detectors and electronic circuitry to be coupled and integrated with these sensors. The coupling of these fibers with these light sources and detectors is a critical packaging problem and as it is well-known the costs for packaging, especially with optoelectronic components and fiber alignment issues are huge. The end goal of this embedded sensor is to create a flexible optical sensor integrated with (opto)electronic modules and control circuitry. To obtain this flexibility, one can embed the optical sensors and the driving optoelectronics in a stretchable polymer host material. In this article different embedding techniques for optical fiber sensors are described and characterized. Initial tests based on standard manufacturing processes such as molding and laser structuring are reported as well as a more advanced embedding technique based on soft lithography processing.
© (2010) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Bram Van Hoe, Geert Van Steenberge, Erwin Bosman, Jeroen Missinne, Thomas Geernaert, Francis Berghmans, David Webb, and Peter Van Daele "Optical fiber sensors embedded in flexible polymer foils", Proc. SPIE 7726, Optical Sensing and Detection, 772603 (13 May 2010);


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