Digitally controlled chirped pulse laser for sub-terahertz-range fiber structure interrogation

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This Letter reports a sweep velocity-locked laser pulse generator controlled using a digital phase-locked loop (DPLL) circuit. This design is used for the interrogation of subterahertz-range fiber structures for sensing applications that require real-time data collection with millimeter-level spatial resolution. A distributed feedback laser was employed to generate chirped laser pulses via injection current modulation. A DPLL circuit was developed to lock the optical frequency sweep velocity. A high-quality linearly chirped laser pulse with a frequency excursion of 117.69 GHz at an optical communication band was demonstrated. The system was further adopted to interrogate a continuously distributed sub-terahertz-range fiber structure (sub-THz-fs) for sensing applications. A strain test was conducted in which the sub-THz-fs showed a linear response to longitudinal strain change with predicted sensitivity. Additionally, temperature testing was conducted in which a heat source was used to generate a temperature distribution along the fiber structure to demonstrate its distributed sensing capability. A Gaussian temperature profile was measured using the described system and tracked in real time, as the heat source was moved.

Publication Title

Optics Letters