Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Electrical and Computer Engineering (Holcomb Dept. of)

Committee Member

Dr. Hai Xiao, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Dr. Fei Peng

Committee Member

Dr. Lin Zhu

Committee Member

Dr. Pingshan Wang


Aging civic infrastructures in the world has put tremendous pressure in their maintenances because potential failure of the large size civil structures will be catastrophic. Structure health monitoring (SHM) has been proven effective to prevent these failures, and distributed sensing technologies are preferred in SHM as they are effective to provide comprehensive evaluation of the structures. Fiber optic sensors are well developed in the past two decades for distributed sensing, but the lack of robustness and the limited deformability of silica make them not suitable for heavy duty and large deformation applications, which is very common in SHM. To address the above limitation of optical fiber sensors, we change the sensing platform from optical fibers to coaxial cable. Inspired by optical FPI, we created two reflectors on a coaxial cable to form a coaxial cable Fabry-Perot interferometer (CCFPI). The reflectors are commonly made by drilling half way holes or crimp on the cable, which introduce impedance discontinuity and hence partial reflection of EM wave in the cable. The two reflectors can produce interference patterns with multiple resonant frequencies which can be tracked to indicate changes in physical parameters such as temperature and strain. To realize distributed sensing, multiple reflectors are implemented along a coaxial cable, where every two consecutive reflectors will form a low finesse CCFPI. A specific signal process technique is used to reconstruct each individual CCFPI interferogram from the complex frequency domain signal. As examples of the distributed sensing capability of the coaxial cable platform, distributed torsion sensing and 3D beam shape estimation system are demonstrated in this thesis. By modifying the cable material and structure, we can achieve other special function for CC-FPI sensors. By fabricating the cable with ceramics as dielectric material and implanting built in reflectors, a high temperature CC-FPI sensor is developed and tested. Another example is a magnetic field sensor made by filling a cavity in a semi-rigid cable with ferrofluid. When external magnetic field change, the property of the ferrofluid will also change, resulting in spectrum shift of the FPI. The coaxial cable FPI sensors have many potentials to measure different physical parameters in distributed sensing form, which makes it a very good sensing platform for long distance and distributed sensing in harsh environment and heavy duty applications.