Date: 05 Dec 2007

Optical fibre musical instruments: making sense of the senseless

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This paper demonstrates how the light transmitted through a stretched optical fibre may be used to detect its modes of vibration. In particular, replacing strings of a musical instrument with optical fibre allows the fabrication of a simple acoustic instrument with a single laser source and single detector. The detected signal contains rich harmonics of the vibrating fibre. This device may be used as a vibration, temperature or strain sensor, or simply as a musical instrument. Coating the optical fibre with novel materials such as PZLT may well allow a modification of vibration properties to enhance, suppress certain harmonics or lead to the development of simple electric field sensors.