[OPTICAL REVIEW Vol. 1, No. 1 (1994) 70-72]

A Fiber Optic Non-Contact Accelerometer


Department of Electrical and Computer, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario Canada M5S 1A4

(Accepted July 1, 1994)

A novel non-contact fiber optic accelerometer is presented. Two laser beams that have passed through two different lengths of feed fibers are launched to the same moving target. The frequency of each beam is Doppler shifted by movement of the target. The frequency shift of the laser beam corresponds to the velocity of the target at the time of launch. The difference in launching time due to the difference in feed fiber lengths samples the velocities of the target at times spaced by the differential arrival times of the laser beams. Two return passes of the reflected light are also made different so that the light passed through the shorter feed fiber is steered to the longer return fiber by means of a combination of λ/4 plate and polarization beam splitter (PBS). This arrangement of equalizing the total paths relieved a stringent requirement of the coherency of the laser. Two reflected light beams are mixed and the beat frequency corresponds to the difference in the Doppler shift frequency at two different times of arrival of the launcher. An accelerometer based upon this principle was constructed and its performance was examined using a sinusoidally vibrating hydrophone as a target. Features of such an accelerometer are reduction in the coherency requirements of the light source and simpler amplification of the signal using heterodyne detection.