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SEMESTER 2, 2013/2014

TECHNICAL COMMUNICATION
TECB213
Section 3
Assignment II

Humidity is included in one of the most imperative physical quantities in the physics
sector [1]. It was referred to as the presence of water produced in the form of gaseous, but it is
frequently used to refer to the corresponding expression in the field of measurement and
characteristics of water vapor. The existing water vapor pressure in the air is well-defined as the
saturation water vapor pressure (Pws) which is one of the functions of temperature when air is
completely saturated with the water. A usual way used to relate the amount of water vapor in the
surrounding environment is by taking the ratio of the actual water vapor pressure to the saturated
vapor pressure of water at a certain temperature and well-known as relative humidity (RH). [2]
[3]
The relative humidity (RH) is commonly adopted to define the humidity in several
manufacture and environments [4]. RH is the ratio of the factual vapor pressure of air at a certain
temperature, to the concentration vapor pressure at the same temperature and taken is known by,
RH = (Pw / Pws) x100%
where Pw is the partial pressure of water vapor, and Pws is concentrated water vapor pressure at
a given temperature [1] [2] [3]. RH is used in many aspects, such as the processing products for
human comfort since RH factor are quite evident in the quality control and human health [5].
Humidity sensing has been studied extensively the last few decades that cover a variety of
techniques and concepts due to its widespread applications. However, more or less, these sensors
have quite a few limitations that should be considered in real-world applications. For instance,
sensing device that fabricated based on the refractive index (RI) change, the sensitivity is not
good enough in low RH, which has become its disadvantages. [5] [6] So far, a wide range of
different technological approaches to fiber optic humidity sensors have been carried out and each
technology will further enhance the advantages of the sensor itself.
The previous studies can be categorized on the concepts on enhanced the sensitivity of the
fiber optic humidity sensor, either using the hetero-core or silica film. Hetero-core structure have
been established in terms of simplicity of the structure and the sensing principle by changing
core diameter in a short length in a transmission line, which is called hetero-core portion. Next,
that well confined light wave in the transmission line spreads into the cladding region of heterocore. This results on the outflow at the interfaces of hetero-core splicing. [7]

In addition, the hetero-core portion is coated with a humidity sensitive polymer using a
layer-by-layer (LBL) technique. This technique consists of the multi-layers made with a polyglutamic acid and a poly-lysine alternative structure. When the polymer layers absorb water
vapor, the RI of layer decreases than the cladding by depending on the humidity around the
sensor, hence total reflection occurs so as to enhance light intensity. [7] This also results on
increases humidity value and directly enhances the humidity sensitivity.
Moreover, sol-gel materials such as silica film have also been widely applied as matrix
supports to immobilize sensitive reagents into which analyte particles may diffuse and interact
[8]. It was coated after the cladding of the plastic-clad multi-mode fiber was removed from the
central portion. The optical power in evanescent tail of the propagating mode is absorbed due to
the light at a wavelength close to the peak absorption wavelength of the sensing film. Moreover,
the fiber transfer power changed to the leaky modes from the guided modes, giving more power
to interact with the analyte. This results in a very high sensitivity with a very small interaction
length. [9] [6]
Instead of using pure silica film as a sensing element to prepare the fiber optic humidity
sensor, there is also some manufacturing mixed the pure silica with the microporous Silica Oxide
(SiO2). The RI changes as the film absorbs water and, as a result, the resonant wavelength shifts
[8]. Newly designed low cost silica film coated fiber-optic humidity sensor based on evanescent
wave scattering and absorption, using tungsten light as light source and charge-coupled device
(CCD) as photo detector. The procedure involves the hydrolysis and condensation of a silicon
alkoxide precursor to provide silica network, which will forms porous matrix containing lots of
interconnected pores. As a result, this unique structure scatters the evanescent wave and makes it
possible to exchange substance between external environment and the silica surface speedily.
Furthermore, the silica clad also can scatter the evanescent wave due to its hydrophilic nature.
The sensing dye Methylene Blue, doped in the silica clad, can enhance the evanescent wave
absorption since it turns to dark green from green when forming crystal water. These phenomena
are in dynamic equilibrium with the water vapor pressure in the surrounding environment. [5]

Other techniques that have been applied to enhance the humidity sensitivity were by
coating the silica film with the multilayer thin film interferometry cavity. These multilayer thin
films usually give geometric adaptability in terms of sensor design and a high level of
measurement sensitivity. It was created by arranging the alternating cationic and anionic
polymers at the fiber landfill and manipulating the ionic self-assembly monolayer method, which
provides perfect control over the cavity length in addition to the substantial structure of every
coating film. Sensors with a cavity length amended at a certain effective wavelength were
presented to be able to function at room temperature over a wide-ranging humidity which is
between 11.3% till 100%, with a fast reaction time of the order of a few seconds. [10]
Apart from that, the unclad core with the silica film also were coated with the
polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) film containing phenol-red dye to make the sensitivity of the
fiber optic humidity sensor more precisely. The refractive index of the polymethylmethacrylate
film is greater, thus the absorption of the conveyed light in the film occur rapidly which result in
the increase in the sensitivity of the sensor. Secondly, the PMMA was heated and curved to form
it the shape of the letter U and becoming U-shaped probe. [6] [9] It decreases the angle of
incidence and controls in the humidity range 20% to 80% RH with reaction time is around 5
second which will increasing the transmission of light in the film. This increases the sensor
sensitivity [6].
Previous works has focused only on the silica film to enhance the sensitivity of the fiber
optic humidity sensor. Few researchers have addressed the problem regarding the sensor
performance due to the usage of silica film by curved it to U shaped on the fiber by not
consider to its diameter. They stated that the nature of sensor characteristics does not change by
changing the core diameter. As the core diameter decreases, it will increase the sensitivity. [9]
(1133 words)

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