2010 Medal Winners | francais

The 2010 CAP-INO Medal for Outstanding Achievement in Applied Photonics

is awarded to

Xiaoyi Bao

"I am very happy to receive the CAP/INO Medal. I feel honored, humbled and a responsiblity for promoting research that creates new knowledge, is relevant to society, and benefits our people. I also want to encourage women to devote time and effort to science and technology. I am grateful to my colleagues and my group members who helped and encouraged me." winner citation

The Canadian Association of Physicists (CAP) and the Institut National d'Optique (INO) are pleased to announce that the 2010 CAP-INO Medal for Outstanding Achievement in Applied Photonics is awarded to Xiaoyi Bao, University of Ottawa, in recognition of for her outstanding achievements on the physics, technology and applications of optical fiber sensors. Her contributions to distributed fiber sensors, based on Brillouin loss with simultaneous sensing of temperature and strain, and applied to the safety of structures, are of high relevance in these days of aging infrastructures. announcement

Optical fibers act as the “nerves” of a technological age which relies increasingly on optical signals for communication, probe and sensing technologies. Dr. Bao has made major strides in advancing the capabilities of optical fibers. These are small, light, cheap, non-corrosive, immune to electromagnetic interference, and therefore very versatile. They can be easily placed without disrupting the medium into a variety of structures. One application is as distributed strain sensors, which use the inelastic scattering of light in the fibres due to thermally activated vibrations, known as Brillouin scattering, to measure the strain. One of Dr. Bao’s key accomplishments was to reduce the spatial resolution of these strain sensors to about 10 cm, and increase their range up to 50 km, through a series of innovative approaches. Traditional distributed fibre sensors had spatial resolution typically of a 100m and a sensing range of about 2 km. Her high performance distributed sensors can also independently monitor temperature and strain changes, and are now widely used as an early warning system in bridges, pipelines and power lines. They can detect dangerous stress levels before any visible damage, and temperature rises indicative of a potential fire. In making the move from 2.5Gb/s to 10 Gb/s, telephone companies faced a number of challenges, in particular polarization mode dispersion (PMD) which broadens the signal, and polarization dependent loss (PDL), which weakens and distorts it. Dr. Bao’s group developed the first test procedures and guidelines to monitor these effects in aerial fibres. By making major breakthroughs in the modeling of these effects her group has also devised an emulator that can accurately assess the impact of PMD and PDL on communication networks. Both the test procedures and the emulator are used widely in the telecom industry. nominator citation

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