Integrated optical electric field sensor based on a Bragg grating in lithium niobate
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We demonstrate a new sensor concept for the measurement of oscillating electric fields that is based on Bragg gratings in LiNbO3:Ti channel waveguides. This miniaturized sensor that works in a retroreflective scheme does not require metallic electrodes and can be directly immersed in an oscillating electric field. The electric field induces a shift of the Bragg wavelength of the reflection grating that is due to the electro-optic effect. The operating point of the sensor is chosen by adjusting the laser wavelength to the slope of the spectral reflectivity function of the grating. In this way the magnitude of an external electric field is measured precisely as the amplitude of modulated reflected light intensity by using a lock-in amplifier. The sensor principle is demonstrated by detecting low-frequency electric fields ranging from 50 V/cm to 5 kV/cm without any conducting parts of the sensor head. Furthermore, the ability of the sensor to determine the three-dimensional orientation of an external electric field by a single rotation along the waveguide direction is demonstrated.
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