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A low relative humidity (RH) sensor based on overlay on side-polished fiber is presented. The evanescent field from a single-mode optical fiber is coupled to a TiO2 waveguide overlay. The transmission response exhibits sharp resonances whose central wavelengths are linearly shifted with RH. This behavior is due to the porous columnar nanostructure of the TiO2 film. The water is adsorbed in the pores of the nanostructure changing the refractive index of the layer and causing a shift of the wavelength resonances. The response of the sensor is determined by the shape and size of the pores. The optical fiber evanescent field sensor developed has a linear response and high sensitivity (0.5 nm/% RH) for low RH (RH∼0%-15%) at 26.1°C±0.6°C. The lack of hysteresis in the adsorption-desorption cycle has been checked. The development of a sensor with tailored response is envisaged using properly techniques to control the porosity of the material.
Date of Publication: Feb. 2004