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An analytic model of a bonding layer for a fiber Bragg grating (FBG) bonded on a substrate was developed to predict the strain transfer from the substrate to the FBG when the substrate is subjected to external forces. This model provides a guide on how to bond an FBG on a substrate as a strain sensor or as a chirp FBG spectrum-tuning device used in telecommunications. In addition, an inverse approach based on an optimization technique was developed to investigate which part of the strain distribution along the FBG causes sidebands and ripples when an FBG is stretched to become a chirped FBG (CFBG) using the substrate-straining technique. Results show that the primary influence of an unacceptable bonding layer on the strain transfer from the substrate to the FBG is near the two ends of the FBG, which causes sidebands in the reflective spectrum. Using a glue with a high shear modulus, we can increase the bonding length and reduce the bonding-layer thickness to effectively improve the strain transmissibility of the bonding layer. However, if the strain transfer from the substrate to the FBG exhibits fluctuations due to an improper bonding process or a deteriorating bonding layer, ripples occur in the corresponding wavelength spectra. The number and amplitude of the ripples correlate strongly to those of strain fluctuations in the FBG.