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Liquid Level Sensor

Using Fiber Optics

Abhik Sarkar PHI16004
Anupam Deka PHI16014
Bhasamrita Sarmah PHI16017
What is Optical Fiber ?
• An optical fibre is a glass or plastic fibre
designed to guide light along its length by
confining as much light as possible in a
propagating form.

• The working principle for optical fibres is total

internal reflection.
How Light Propagates ?
When a ray of light from a denser medium approaches a
rarer medium at an angle of incidence greater than the
critical angle, the light reflects back within the medium.
This phenomenon is termed as Total Internal Reflection.
Modes in Optical Fiber
• The paths through which the light is carried inside
the fibre are called modes.

• Two types of modes:

1. Single Mode : Light can take just the straight

2. Multi Mode : When light can take multiple paths
within the fibre.
Liquid Volume Measurement

• To measure change in liquid level in a

container using intensity variation of light
propagating through optical fiber.

• To find some technique to measure liquid level

for corrosive liquids.

Optical Power Meter Optical Power Source

Cladded Fibre Decladded Fibre

Non Intrusive Technique
• We avoid direct contact of the experimental
liquid with the fiber probe.

• No unwanted contamination of liquid sample

due to the fiber.

• No corrosion of the fiber probes due to contact

with acidic liquid samples.
• The linear relationship between absorbance
and concentration of an absorbing species is
given by

• When light passes through the experimental

liquid, it suffers absorption by the liquid, and
the amount of absorption is dependent on the
height of the liquid level.

• Complete loss of input

signal after passing
through the medium.

• Difficult to converge all

the output to a single
point in the fibre.
Intrusive Technique
• The optical fiber is dipped in the experimental
liquid and a portion of it, lying along the
measurement scale of the beaker is decladded.

• The decladded region is replaced by the liquid

sample. In absence of liquid, the core is
exposed to air medium.
• We decladded a section of the fibre and thus
observe the variation in the output.

• When liquid touch the decladded region the

modes passing through the fibre will change
leading to change in output.

• Decladding the cladding give us bare core and

thus variation in the angle with different medium.
• Total decladding of a long region leads to no

• Passing of visible light shows that there is

almost total loss of signal from the decladded

• Possible reason maybe due to excessive

decladding, resulting in damage of the core.
Partial Decladding
• One remedy of the
problem is to declad the
fiber at certain intervals
instead of total

• Reasonable amount of
signal loss can be
Observations (50 ml)
Power Output 1 (in Power Output 1 (in Power Output 3 (in
Liquid Volume (in ml)
nW) nW) nW)
0 16.03 35.15 20.11
10 22.08 39.62 23.34
20 22.43 47.86 26.87
30 23.33 48.75 29.7
40 23.87 49.31 30.66
50 24.01 50.81 32.16
Linear Fitting
Q: How did we obtain the best fitted linear function?

• Let us consider the best fitted line be:

𝑦 = 𝑎𝑥 + 𝑏

• Therefore the normal equations are:

𝑎 ෍ 𝑥𝑖 + 𝑛𝑏 = ෍ 𝑦𝑖

𝑎 ෍ 𝑥𝑖2 + 𝑏 ෍ 𝑥𝑖 = ෍ 𝑥𝑖 𝑦𝑖
Graph (50 ml)
Variation of Output Power with Increase in Liquid Volume

y = 0.3093x + 37.517

Power Output (in nW)


y = 0.243x + 21.066

y = 0.1319x + 18.66



0 10 20 30 40 50 60
Liquid Volume (in ml)
Observations (100 ml)
Liquid Volume (in Power Output 1 (in Power Output 1 (in Power Output 3 (in
ml) nW) nW) nW)
0 87.77 24.44 19.76
10 88.7 27.1 20.04
20 91.56 28.31 20.98
30 91.34 30.89 21.49
40 92.4 33.12 22.69
50 93.56 34.05 23.35
60 96.78 34.93 23.98
70 99.34 35.54 24.76
80 101.23 36.9 25.64
90 103.05 38.29 25.99
100 103.87 39.69 26.36
Graph (100 ml)
Variation of Output Power with Increase in Liquid Volume

y = 0.1703x + 86.905

Power Output (in nW)



y = 0.1435x + 25.847

y = 0.0715x + 19.612


0 20 40 60 80 100 120
Liquid Volume (in ml)
• The output power was observed to increase
linearly with increase in liquid volume.

• Some outcomes were observed to be abnormal,

however we used statistical techniques to
obtain the best fit for the variation.

• We were unable to reproduce similar results on

decreasing the liquid level.
Why Output Increases ?
• In principle, less power output should be observed
in presence of liquid medium compared to air

• However, observations show increase in power

output in presence of liquid medium.

• There might a number of explanation in this

respect. However, we were able to arrive only at a
few possible explanation.
Roughness of Decladded Region
• On zooming the decladded part
of the fiber under optical
microscope, we observed that
the surfaces were not smooth.

• As a result we would expect

most of the modes to be incident
on a rough interface and get
refracted into the cladding

• Higher refractive index of liquid

medium allows more modes to
reflect from the clad region back
into the core compared to air.
5x 10x
Effect of Bending
• Being less thick compared
to other regions of the
fiber, the decladded
regions are more prone to

• Bending loss is more in

air-core interface because
of the fact that less
amount of modes reflect
back if the cladding is air
medium compared to
liquid medium.
Decrease in Liquid Level ?
• We were unable observe any significant
variation in the output reading on decreasing
the liquid volume.

• The reason for this is quite trivial. The liquid

sticks to the walls of the optical fiber interface
and even more on the decladded region owing
to its roughness. This prevent air medium
occupy the space left behind by the liquid.
Scope for Improvement
The project is still in its crude stage and there are a number of
sectors which are to be improved:

– Better equipment and apparatus design.

– Using source with less absorption and attenuation.

– Smooth decladding of the optical fiber with better equipment.

– Prevention of liquid to stick on the decladded region.

– Better coupling with the source and power meter.


We are using this opportunity to express our gratitude

to everyone who supported us throughout the project
and thankful to their aspiring guidance, invaluable
criticism and friendly advice during this project. We
would like to express our warm thanks to our project
guide, Dr. Pavitra Nath for his support and guidance.