In this paper we report on experiments aimed at the development of a highly responsive sensor based on long period gratings (LPGs) operating at high order cladding modes which exhibit a turn-around-point in their phase matching diagrams. These high order cladding modes are accessed by decreasing the period of the grating within standard optical fiber according to theoretical simulations. The sensors tested detect hydrogen through a Pd coating on the fiber cladding. As expected from simulations these sensors exhibit a near 8 fold increase in response to 1% hydrogen when operated near the phase turning point. This increase in response is, however, not selective to hydrogen and a combination of increased thermal noise and broadened resonance condition serves to decrease the signal to noise ratio such that any gain in theoretical sensitivity is counter-acted by a loss in fidelity of the recovered (or recorded) signal. The highest sensitivity (shift of a LPG lossband) recorded was in the order of 470pm for an exposure to 1% H2 at 70°C, which represented a shift of ~1/150 of the FWHM of the LPG loss band.
- Optical fibers