Characterization and optimization of an ultrasonic piezo-optical ring sensor

Document Type


Subject Area(s)

Physics, Mechanical, Engineering


A resonant piezo-optical ring sensor with both piezoelectric and fiber Bragg grating (FBG) sensing elements was assessed for ultrasonic wave detection. The ring sensor is an existing device that has been shown experimentally to exhibit a number of sensing features: omnidirectionality, mode selectivity, and frequency tunability. The present study uses finite element modeling to understand these features as a means to characterize and optimize the sensor. A combined vibration-wave propagation modeling approach was used, where the vibrational modeling provided a basis for understanding sensing features, and the wave propagation modeling provided predictive power for sensor performance. The sensor features corresponded to the fundamental vibrational mode of the sensor, particularly to the base motion of this mode. The vibrational modeling was also used to guide sensor optimization, with an emphasis on the FBG and piezoelectric sensing elements. It was found that sensor symmetry and nodes of extraneous resonance modes could be exploited to provide a single-resonance response. A series of pitch-catch guided wave experiments were performed on a thin aluminum plate to assess the optimized sensor configuration. Tuning curves showed a single-frequency response to a Lamb wave and mechanical filtering away from the dominant frequency; the sensor capability for mechanical amplification of a Lamb wave and mechanical amplification of a pencil-lead-break acoustic emission event were also demonstrated.