Fiber optic sensors for sub-centimeter spatially resolved measurements: Review and biomedical applications

Daniele Tosi, Emiliano Schena, Carlo Molardi, Sanzhar Korganbayev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Citations (Scopus)


One of the current frontier of optical fiber sensors, and a unique asset of this sensing technology is the possibility to use a whole optical fiber, or optical fiber device, as a sensor. This solution allows shifting the whole sensing paradigm, from the measurement of a single physical parameter (such as temperature, strain, vibrations, pressure) to the measurement of a spatial distribution, or profiling, of a physical parameter along the fiber length. In the recent years, several technologies are achieving this task with unprecedentedly narrow spatial resolution, ranging from the sub-millimeter to the centimeter-level. In this work, we review the main fiber optic sensing technologies that achieve a narrow spatial resolution: Fiber Bragg Grating (FBG) dense arrays, chirped FBG (CFBG) sensors, optical frequency domain reflectometry (OFDR) based on either Rayleigh scattering or reflective elements, and microwave photonics (MWP). In the second part of the work, we present the impact of spatially dense fiber optic sensors in biomedical applications, where they find the main impact, presenting the key results obtained in thermo-therapies monitoring, high-resolution diagnostic, catheters monitoring, smart textiles, and other emerging applicative fields.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6-19
Number of pages14
JournalOptical Fiber Technology
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018


  • Biomedical sensors
  • Chirped Fiber Bragg Grating (CFBG)
  • Distributed sensors
  • Fiber Bragg Grating (FBG)
  • Fiber optic sensors (FOS)
  • Optical Frequency-Domain Reflectometry (OFDR)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Instrumentation
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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