Novel optical fibers in light-based gyroscopes

A team of scientists from Great Britain has presented a great development in resonator fiber optic gyroscopes, a type of sensors based on optical fibers. These optical fibers allow for sensing rotation parameters applying only light. The thing is that gyroscopes play a crucial role because they are used in most navigation systems. 

The new fiber optic technology provides numerous improvements to these systems. Even though these gyroscopes based on novel optical fibers are in the development stages, these fiber optic systems for navigation are regarded as the next generation. Herewith, the optical fibers offer a high level of precision, compact size, and lightweight of the system.

It should be noted that the new optical fiber gyroscope demonstrates stability higher as much as 500 times than conventional fibers. The promising applications of these fiber optic systems include civil aviation and autonomous vehicles and other fields in which navigation is important. Additionally, the high performance of optical fibers may lead to totally new abilities and applications.

The operating principle of resonator gyroscopes is based on the light produced by two laser systems that pass through a coil of optical fiber in opposite directions. Herewith, an optical resonator is produced by the connection of optical fiber ends resulting in the coil.

Therefore, “when the coil is at rest, the light beams traveling in both directions share the same resonance frequency, but when the coil is rotating, the resonance frequencies shift relative to each other in a way that can be used to calculate the direction of movement or orientation for the vehicle or device on which the gyroscope is mounted.”

Hollow-core optical fibers are used for the resonator gyroscopes because this type of fiber limits the light in a central air void. Thus, sensors based on these optical fibers do not undergo the nonlinear effects that are widespread in sensors based on solid materials. The researchers present a novel type of hollow-core optical fibers that offer numerous improvements.

Finally, optical fibers called nodeless antiresonant fiber provide even lower nonlinear effects than conventional fiber optic systems. Other benefits include low optical attenuation and the lowest light loss compared to standard optical fibers. Additionally to the development of novel fibers, the researchers have significantly decreased noise when sensing the resonance frequency. It is important for the increase in performance and making the sensor more compact.

The resonator gyroscope based on novel optical fibers has been already tested under stable rotation conditions. The researchers claim that the high performance of these fiber optic systems may demonstrate exceptional applications of optical fibers in precision scientific resonant cavities.

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