Project TitleDistributed Fiber Sensing Systems For Temperature Field Monitoring Using Optically Generated Acoustic Waves
Track Code2015-001
Short Description

A low-cost distributed optical fiber sensing system for real-time monitoring of spatial and temporal distributions of high temperature profiles for harsh environments.

Tagsfiber optic, temperature distribution, sensing, harsh environments, acoustic wave, fiber Bragg grating, photoabsorptive, 3D distribution, laser pulse
Posted DateMay 2, 2016 12:39 PM


In applications such as boiler monitoring, fuel cell monitoring, and manufacturing processes, it is important to continuously monitor the temperature distribution in order to reduce costs and improve the efficiency of processes. However, temperature monitoring can be difficult in these applications which are considered to be harsh environments that current temperature sensing systems cannot withstand. Current methods of determining the temperature distribution include infrared imaging and numerical modeling for estimation. However, these methods are inaccurate.


UMass Lowell researchers have developed a low-cost distributed optical fiber sensing system for real-time monitoring of spatial and temporal distributions of high temperature profiles for harsh environments up to 1100 °C. The sensing system combines both fiber optic techniques and acoustic technology to reconstruct temperature distribution fields. Composed of a novel photoabsorptive material utilizing gold nanoparticles coated in the optical fiber cell walls, the system gives off acoustic waves from a laser pulse that travels to the interior of the harsh environment, such as a boiler. Fiber Bragg gratings (FBG) are impressed within the optical fibers to detect acoustic waves and the temperature distribution is determined using a novel algorithm that determines the temperature based on the time it takes the acoustic wave to travel through the harsh environment. The 3D temperature distribution profile is then reconstructed using a Recursive Least Square (RLS) algorithm and spatial discretization using Gaussian radial basis functions (GRBF).


Competitive Advantages

  • Real time continuous monitoring of temperature distribution.
  • Novel photoabsorptive material allows the sensing system to withstand harsh, high temperature environments.
  • The distributed sensing system allows for the creation of a temperature distribution reconstruction profile.


  • Power plants containing boilers and coal burners.
  • Large enclosures, such as sporting arenas or concert halls.

Market Potential

In general, Global Industry Analysts, Inc. reports that the global market for temperature sensors is projected to reach $4.5 billion by 2018. More specifically, the 2015 Photonic Sensor Consortium Market Survey Report projects the distributed fiber optic sensor market to approach $1.5 billion by 2018 as its demand in the oil and gas industry grows.

Intellectual Property

Invention Disclosure UML 2015-001

References & Publications

Upon request.


Rajnish Kaushik

Office of Technology Commercialization (OTC)

University of Massachusetts Lowell

600 Suffolk Street, 2nd Floor

Lowell, MA 01854