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  • Received: Jun. 23, 2019

    Accepted: Aug. 7, 2019

    Posted: Mar. 25, 2020

    Published Online: Mar. 25, 2020

    The Author Email: Tang Ming (

    DOI: 10.29026/oea.2020.190024

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    Zhiyong Zhao, Ming Tang, Chao Lu. Distributed multicore fiber sensors[J]. Opto-Electronic Advances, 2020, 3(2): 190024-1

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Opto-Electronic Advances, Vol. 3, Issue 2, 190024-1 (2020)

Distributed multicore fiber sensors

Zhiyong Zhao1, Ming Tang2,*, and Chao Lu1

Author Affiliations

  • 1Photonics Research Centre, Department of Electronic and Information Engineering, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Kowloon, Hong Kong
  • 2National Engineering Laboratory of Next Generation Internet Access Networks, School of Optical and Electronic Infor-mation, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan 430074, China


Multicore fiber (MCF) which contains more than one core in a single fiber cladding has attracted ever increasing attention for application in optical sensing systems owing to its unique capability of independent light transmission in multiple spatial channels. Different from the situation in standard single mode fiber (SMF), the fiber bending gives rise to tangential strain in off-center cores, and this unique feature has been employed for directional bending and shape sensing, where strain measurement is achieved by using either fiber Bragg gratings (FBGs), optical frequency-domain reflectometry (OFDR) or Brillouin distributed sensing technique. On the other hand, the parallel spatial cores enable space-division multiplexed (SDM) system configuration that allows for the multiplexing of multiple distributed sensing techniques. As a result, multi-parameter sensing or performance enhanced sensing can be achieved by using MCF. In this paper, we review the research progress in MCF based distributed fiber sensors. Brief introductions of MCF and the multiplexing/de-multiplexing methods are presented. The bending sensitivity of off-center cores is analyzed. Curvature and shape sensing, as well as various SDM distributed sensing using MCF are summarized, and the working principles of diverse MCF sensors are discussed. Finally, we present the challenges and prospects of MCF for distributed sensing applications.


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