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Fibre optic sensors in smart structures: achievements, challenges and prospects

Culshaw, B. (2011) Fibre optic sensors in smart structures: achievements, challenges and prospects. Proceedings of SPIE 7982, Smart Sensor Phenomena, Technology, Networks, and Systems 2011, 7982.

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Fibre optic sensors have been an important stimulus toward the realisation of the 'smart' structure since the concept became mooted over quarter of a century ago. Indeed without the prospect for the fibre optic 'nervous system' the practicality of achieving the smart structures goal would be significantly impaired. This paper endeavours to present a snapshot of the achievements which fibre based sensor technology has contributed to smart structures and identifies some of the ongoing needs for continued evolution in both the technology itself and, possibly even more important, in the users' perspective on the prospects which fibre optic sensing systems can offer. In particular the tools inherent in distributed sensing which is unique to the fibre optic platform, and in long chains of fibre Bragg gratings, are especially relevant.