A fiber-optic water flow sensor based on laser-heated silicon Fabry-Perot cavity

Guigen Liu, Qiwen Sheng, Geraldo Resende Lisboa Piassetta, Weilin Hou, Ming Han

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

14 Scopus citations


A hot-wire fiber-optic water flow sensor based on laser-heated silicon Fabry-Perot interferometer (FPI) has been proposed and demonstrated in this paper. The operation of the sensor is based on the convective heat loss to water from a heated silicon FPI attached to the cleaved enface of a piece of single-mode fiber. The flow-induced change in the temperature is demodulated by the spectral shifts of the reflection fringes. An analytical model based on the FPI theory and heat transfer analysis has been developed for performance analysis. Numerical simulations based on finite element analysis have been conducted. The analytical and numerical results agree with each other in predicting the behavior of the sensor. Experiments have also been carried to demonstrate the sensing principle and verify the theoretical analysis. Investigations suggest that the sensitivity at low flow rates are much larger than that at high flow rates and the sensitivity can be easily improved by increasing the heating laser power. Experimental results show that an average sensitivity of 52.4 nm/(m/s) for the flow speed range of 1.5 mm/s to 12 mm/s was obtained with a heating power of ∼12 mW, suggesting a resolution of ∼1 μm/s assuming a wavelength resolution of 0.05 pm.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationFiber Optic Sensors and Applications XIII
EditorsHenry H. Du, Eric Udd, Gary Pickrell
ISBN (Electronic)9781510600935
StatePublished - 2016
EventFiber Optic Sensors and Applications XIII Conference - Baltimore, United States
Duration: Apr 18 2016Apr 21 2016

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


OtherFiber Optic Sensors and Applications XIII Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • Fabry-Pérot interferometer
  • Fiber-optic sensors
  • flow sensor
  • oceanography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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