Optomechanical time-domain reflectometry

Gil Bashan, Hilel Hagai Diamandi, Yosef London, Eyal Preter, Avi Zadok

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

102 Scopus citations


Optical fibres constitute an exceptional sensing platform. However, standard fibres present an inherent sensing challenge: they confine light to an inner core. Consequently, distributed fibre sensors are restricted to the measurement of conditions that prevail within the core. This work presents distributed analysis of media outside unmodified, standard fibre. Measurements are based on stimulated scattering by guided acoustic modes, which allow us to listen where we cannot look. The protocol overcomes a major difficulty: guided acoustic waves induce forward scattering, which cannot be mapped using time-of-flight. The solution relies on mapping the Rayleigh backscatter contributions of two optical tones, which are coupled by the acoustic wave. Analysis is demonstrated over 3 km of fibre with 100 m resolution. Measurements distinguish between air, ethanol and water outside the cladding, and between air and water outside polyimide-coated fibres. The results establish a new sensor configuration: optomechanical time-domain reflectometry, with several potential applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2991
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - 31 Jul 2018

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© 2018, The Author(s).


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