Research and development of optical fiber sensors for geotechnical and environmental monitoring

Numerical and analytical modeling, development and characterization of optical fiber sensors and devices to measure and detect parameters relevant to geotechnical surveys and geo hydrological interest (FOS)

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Background

Application of optical fibers is generally aimed at large bandwidth transmission. Few people know that the proposal of optical fibers as sensing elements is almost as old as their proposal as transmission media, and over the last two decades fibre optic sensor (FOS) technology has assumed a dominant role in several fields of application. As a matter of fact, FOSs offer many advantages with respect to legacy electronic and mechanic sensors. Immunity to electromagnetic interference along with cheapness of the sensing element, low operating cost, flexibility, easiness of multiplexing and reliability in harsh environments make FOSs very attracting especially for those applications where harshness, geographical extension or required density of sensing points is very demanding. Geology and hydrology, fit very well with that description: if originally the key driver of FOSs penetration in those fields was the monitoring demand of oil and gas industry, especially for offshore platforms, FOSs are nowadays matter of intense scientific research, to replace standard electronic sensors for almost any geophysics measurements and to enable new ways of measurement.

Purpose

Development of sensor and sensing system based on optical fiber sensor for geo-technical and geo-hydrological applications, over the entire Readiness Technology level scale.

Methods

Analytical and semi-analytical models; numerical modeling; experiments of bare physical principle and demonstrator; prototyping and experimental characterization; physical model testing and on-site.

Results

Development of innovative sensing systems.