A Novel Fiber-Bragg-Grating-Based Unique Identifier For Use In Tags And Seals

Klaus-Peter Ziock - Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Phil Evans - Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Ali Passian - Oak Ridge National Laboratory
William Ray - Oak Ridge National Laboratory
James R Younkin - Oak Ridge National Laboratory
File Attachment
a417.pdf1.35 MB
Tags and seals are important tools used in safeguards regimes for the control of nuclear materials. Vital to a successful tag or seal is the ability to securely, uniquely, and positively distinguish it from others of the same kind. This allows one to validate that items entered into an inspection regime to which the tag or seal is affixed are as claimed. We are developing a new type of unique identifier (UID) for such applications that is based on fiber-Bragg grating (FBG) technology. The index of refraction of the core glass of a fiber optic can be locally and permanently altered if sensitized fibers are exposed to intense ultraviolet light. This can be used to create index modulations with a regular periodicity comparable to the wavelengths of light with which the fiber is used. If broadband illumination is sent down the fiber, any light that is in resonance with the modulations will be reflected back to the input end of the fiber where it can be detected. The shape of the returned spectrum can be set by the modulation pattern written into the fiber’s core. We take advantage of these properties to create a compact UID that contains several FBGs potted into a monolithic body. By connecting the UID to an optical interrogator, the complex spectral return can be uniquely identified with a short measurement, providing a robust identification. As a device based on narrowband spectral returns, FBGs are inherently radiation tolerant, making them ideal for use with nuclear materials. Further, they can be read out remotely via a long fiber optic or locally via brief connection to a portable optical interrogator. Because the spectral signature of FBGs is sensitive to external mechanical perturbations, we are exploring the ability to reversibly alter the signature obtained from the UID by applying controlled mechanical forces with a simple device. Such a “key” will allow different stakeholders to obtain their own unique signature from the device, providing a new level of surety to safeguards inspections.