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7 March 2014 Planar integrated polymer-based optical strain sensor
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In this work we present a new type of optical strain sensor that can be manufactured by MEMS typical processes such as photolithography or by hot embossing. Such sensors can be of interest for a range of new applications in structural health monitoring for buildings and aircraft, process control and life science. The approach aims at high sensitivity and dynamic range for 1D and 2D sensing of mechanical strain and can also be extended to quantities such as pressure, force, and humidity. The sensor consists of an array of planar polymer-based multimode waveguides whose output light is guided through a measurement area and focused onto a second array of smaller detection waveguides by using micro-optical elements. Strain induced in the measurement area varies the distance between the two waveguide arrays, thus, changing the coupling efficiency. This, in turn, leads to a variation in output intensity or wavelength which is monitored. We performed extensive optical simulations in order to identify the optimal sensor layout with regard to either resolution or measurement range or both. Since the initial approach relies on manufacturing polymer waveguides with cross sections between 20×20 μm2 and 100×100 μm2 the simulations were carried out using raytracing models. For the readout of the sensor a simple fitting algorithm is proposed.
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Christian Kelb, Eduard Reithmeier, and Bernhard Roth "Planar integrated polymer-based optical strain sensor", Proc. SPIE 8977, MOEMS and Miniaturized Systems XIII, 89770Y (7 March 2014);

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