Scalable manufacture and synchronized optical/mechanical characterization of tunable elastic photonic fibers
Author(s)Sandt, Joseph David
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Mechanical Engineering.
MetadataShow full item record
In recent decades, advances in optical technologies have been essential to improvements made in the ways we transmit and process information, diagnose health issues in human patients and material problems in man-made devices and infrastructure, modify and monitor materials in manufacturing, and otherwise interact with the world around us. Optical and photonic fibers, in particular, represent a class of optical devices that are invaluable to a variety of applications. Advances in the development of optical devices will continue to provide increased utility to science and industry, though somewhat surprisingly, research related to such efforts continues to focus on a limited set of highly optimized materials, restricting the progress that could potentially be made. Increasing the breadth of materials used in optical and photonic fibers opens doors to novel capabilities of familiar technology. Herein, the mechanical and optical characterization, and attempted scaling of manufacture, of mechano-responsive, color-tunable elastic photonic fibers is discussed. When deformed, the fibers respond with a predictable, linear variation in the wavelength of light they reflect, which results in a pronounced change in their color. This characterization was accomplished with a custom-built setup designed to simultaneously collect information about stress and strain in the fiber, as well as a fiber image and spectral reflection data from selected points on the fiber. Fibers have been subjected to up to 5000 cycles of stretching and relaxation, and initial results indicate that their optical response to longitudinal strain can be exceptionally consistent, even after several thousand cycles. Sensors that rely on optical technologies have several inherent advantages over more traditional resistance-based sensors and other systems, including being lightweight, immune to electromagnetic interference, and inexpensive. Once a viable method of manufacturing fibers with length on the order of meters or kilometers is found, the fibers have great potential to find application in medicine, structural health monitoring, textiles, communication, and other industries. The vast potential of these fibers comes from the use of novel, elastic materials in the implementation of well-known optical concepts.
Thesis: S.M., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Mechanical Engineering, 2015.Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (pages 36-37).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Mechanical Engineering.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology