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A fiber-optic interferometric seismometer

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5 Author(s)
D. Gardner ; Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA, USA ; T. Hofler ; S. Baker ; R. Yarber
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A fiber-optic interferometric sensor has been developed which consists of a seismic mass of 520 gm supported by two rubber mandrels, each wound with a single layer of single-mode optical fiber 6.5 m long. One end of each fiber is cleaved to enhance reflection. The other ends are interconnected via a fiber-to-fiber 3-dB coupler, forming a Michelson interferometer. When the case of the sensor is displaced, the fiber around one mandrel extends in length while the other contracts. The resulting "push-pull" mechanical operation of the sensor allows both legs of the interferometer to be active, providing good common mode rejection of spurious effects, as a reference leg is not required. This, together with the fact that the light traverses each leg of a Michelson interferometer twice due to reflection, provides the sensor with four times the sensitivity of a conventionally constructed interferometric sensor. Sensitivities of 8500 rad of optical phase shift per micrometer of case displacement have been measured above the mass-spring resonance, where the sensor operates as a seismometer. Below resonance the sensor operates as an accelerometer with a measured sensitivity of 10 500 rad/g, the highest reported to date. Including both thermodynamic and demodulator noise sources ( \approx 10 \mu rad/ \sqrt {Hz} ), below resonance the sensor has a detection threshold of 1 ng/ \sqrt {Hz} , a 20- dB improvement over the best existing conventional low noise vibration sensors.

Published in:

Journal of Lightwave Technology  (Volume:5 ,  Issue: 7 )