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D-Shaped POF Sensors for Refractive Index Sensing—The Importance of Surface Roughness

Sequeira, F. ; Cennamo, N. ; Rudnitskaya, Rudnitskaya, A. ; Nogueira, R.N. ; Zeni, L. ; Bilro, L.

Sensors Vol. 19, Nº 11, pp. 2476 - 2476, May, 2019.

ISSN (print): 1424-3210
ISSN (online): 1424-8220

Journal Impact Factor: 2,033 (in 2015)

Digital Object Identifier: 10.3390/s19112476

In this study the influence of the surface roughness on the transmission capacities of D-shaped plastic optical fibers (POFs) and sensors performance was investigated. Five D-shaped POF sensors were produced and characterized for refractive index sensing between 1.33 and 1.41. The sensors were characterized using a low-cost optical sensing system based on the variation of the transmitted light though the POF with refractive index changes (RI). Higher surface roughness increases the scattering losses through the POF and influences the sensors’ performance; therefore, a balance must be attained. Generally, the best performance was achieved when the sensing region was polished with P600 sandpaper as a final polishing step. Polishing with sandpapers of lower grit size resulted in lower scattering, higher linearity of the sensor response and generally lower performance for RI sensing. A sensor resolution of 10−3 – 10−4 RIU, dependent on the value of the external refractive index, was obtained through simple and low-cost manufacturing procedures. The obtained results show the importance of surface roughness in the development of POF sensors which can be used in several applications, such as for water quality assessment.