Distributed Brillouin fiber sensors typically rely on the reconstruction of the steady-state Brillouin gain spectrum (BGS), through spectral scanning of the frequency offset between the pump and signal waves. In this work, we propose and demonstrate an alternative approach, in which the local Brillouin frequency shift (BFS) is extracted from temporal transient analysis of the step response of the amplified signal wave. Measurements are taken at only two arbitrary frequency offsets between pump and signal. No spectral scanning and no prior knowledge of a reference BGS are necessary. The principle is supported by analytic and numeric solutions of the differential equations of stimulated Brillouin scattering. The BFS of a 2 meters-long fiber under test was measured with 1 MHz accuracy and a dynamic range of 200 MHz. Transient measurements were also performed in a Brillouin optical correlation domain analysis (B-OCDA) experiment with 4 cm resolution, standard deviation of 2.4 MHz and 100 MHz dynamic range. A 4 cm-wide hot-spot was properly identified in the measurements. Multiple correlation peaks could be addressed in a single flight of a pump pulse. The results represent the first B-OCDA that is free of spectral scanning. This new measurement concept may be applicable to random-access distributed and dynamic monitoring of sound and vibration.
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© 2016 Optical Society of America.