Fibre Bragg gratings are wavelength selective mirrors, written by laser inside a standard silica optical fibre. Over the last 15 years, many applications of these devices have been demonstrated in telecommunications and sensing; there is a growing commercial activity in this field in Europe.
Recently, single mode polymer optical fibres (POF) have become available and the first demonstration of a Bragg grating in such a fibre was reported by the proposed Fellow working at the University of New South Wales, Sydney. The properties of POF make such devices very attractive, especially for sensing applications.
The advantages are firstly that POF can survive strains over 300%, while silica fibre often breaks at a few percent Secondly, the sensitivity of the reflected wavelength to temperature is more than 10 times greater in POF, which is advantageous for making widely tuneable optical filters or for temperature sensing. The third advantage relates to the organic nature of POF and the low fibre drawing temperature used (around 200 Celsius).
Organic dopants can be added to POF at the perform stage to, e.g. provide amplification or enhance non-linear properties. Finally, for in-vivo medical sensing applications, POF has the advantage of being inherently more biocompatible than silica fibre.
The Host institution has over 15 years expertise in producing silica Bragg gratings and has worked with many companies in the exploitation of the technology. When POF gratings were first demonstrated, the Coordinator grasped the potential advantages of this technology and initiated a research programme, which has just demonstrated the first Bragg gratings written in micro-structured POF.
This project seeks to exploit the natural synergy between the expertise of the Fellow and his current research group and that of the host institution to hasten the development of POF grating applications.
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