New piezo-optical sensors based on the piezo-optical effect for high sensitive mechanical stress measurements have been proposed and developed. The piezo-optical method provides the highest sensitivity to strains compared to sensors based on any other physical principles. Piezo-optical sensors use materials whose parameters practically not change under load or over time, therefore piezo-optical sensors are devoid of the disadvantages inherent in strain-resistive and piezoelectric sensors, such as hysteresis, parameters degradation with time, small dynamic range, low sensitivity to strains, and high sensitivity to overloads. Accurate numerical simulation and experimental investigations of the piezo-optical transducer output signal formation made it possible to optimize its design and show that the its gauge factor is two to three orders of magnitude higher than the gauge factors of sensors of other types. The cruciform shape of the transducer photoelastic element made it possible to significantly increase the stresses in its working area at a given external force. Combining compactness, reliability, resistance to overloads, linearity and high sensitivity, in terms of the all set of these parameters, piezo-optical sensors significantly surpass the currently widely used strain-resistive, piezoelectric and fiber-optic sensors and open up new, previously inaccessible, possibilities in the tasks of measuring power loads.
Part of the book: Optoelectronics