Radiation resistant fiber Bragg grating in random air-line fibers for sensing applications in nuclear reactor cores

Abstract : This paper reports the testing results of radiation resistant fiber Bragg grating (FBG) in random air-line (RAL) fibers in comparison with FBGs in other radiation-hardened fibers. FBGs in RAL fibers were fabricated by 80 fs ultrafast laser pulse using a phase mask approach. The fiber Bragg gratings tests were carried out in the core region of a 6 MW MIT research reactor (MITR) at a steady temperature above 600°C and an average fast neutron (>1 MeV) flux >1.2 × 10$^{14}$ n/cm$^2$/s. Fifty five-day tests of FBG sensors showed less than 5 dB reduction in FBG peak strength after over 1 × 10$^{20}$ n/cm$^2$ of accumulated fast neutron dose. The radiation-induced compaction of FBG sensors produced less than 5.5 nm FBG wavelength shift toward shorter wavelength. To test temporal responses of FBG sensors, a number of reactor anomaly events were artificially created to abruptly change reactor power, temperature, and neutron flux over short periods of time. The thermal sensitivity and temporal responses of FBGs were determined at different accumulated doses of neutron flux. Results presented in this paper reveal that temperature-stable Type-II FBGs fabricated in radiation-hardened fibers can survive harsh in-pile conditions. Despite large parameter drift induced by strong nuclear radiation, further engineering and innovation on both optical fibers and fiber devices could lead to useful fiber sensors for various in-pile measurements to improve safety and efficiency of existing and next generation nuclear reactors.
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Mohamed A.S. Zaghloul, Mohan Wang, Sheng Huang, Cyril Hnatovsky, Dan Grobnic, et al.. Radiation resistant fiber Bragg grating in random air-line fibers for sensing applications in nuclear reactor cores. Optics Express, Optical Society of America, 2018, 26 (9), pp.11775-11786. ⟨10.1364/OE.26.011775⟩. ⟨cea-01919455⟩

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