Embedded micromachined fiber-optic Fabry-Perot pressure sensors in aerodynamics applications

Matthew James Gander, William Neil MacPherson, James S Barton, Robert Lewis Reuben, Julian David Clayton Jones, R Stevens, Kam S Chana, S J Andersen, T V Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

91 Citations (Scopus)


Small size, high bandwidth pressure sensors are required for instrumentation of probes and test models in aerodynamic studies of complex unsteady flows. Optical-fiber pressure sensors promise potential advantages of small size and low cost in comparison with their electrical counterparts. We describe miniature Fabry-Perot cavity pressure sensors constructed by micromachining techniques in a turbine test application. The sensor bodies are 500-mum squared, 300-mum deep with a similar to2-mum-thick copper diaphragm electroplated on one face. The sensor cavity is formed between the diaphragm and the cleaved end of a singlemode fiber sealed to the sensor by epoxy. Each sensor is addressed interferometrically in reflection by three wavelengths simultaneously, giving an unambiguous phase determination; a pressure sensitivity of 1.6 rad bar(-1) was measured, with a typical range of vacuum to 600 kPa. Five sensors were embedded in the trailing edge of a nozzle guide vane installed upstream of a rotor in a full-scale turbine stage transient test facility. Pressure signals in the trailing edge flow show marked structure at the 8-kHz blade passing frequency. To our knowledge, this is the first report of sensors located at the trailing edge of a normal-sized turbine blade.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)102-107
Number of pages6
JournalIEEE Sensors Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2003


  • interferometry
  • micromachining
  • optical fiber
  • pressure measurement


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