A new distributed sensor for detecting pressure variations caused by distant sources has been developed. The instrument reduces noise due to air turbulence in the infrasound band by averaging pressure along a line by means of monitoring strain in a long tubular diaphragm with an optical fiber interferometer. Above 1 Hz, the optical fiber infrasound sensor (OFIS) is less noisy than sensors relying on mechanical filters. Records collected from an 89-m-long OFIS indicate a new low noise limit in the band from 1 to 10 Hz. Because the OFIS integrates pressure variations at light-speed rather than the speed of sound, phase delays of the acoustical signals caused by the sensor are negligible. Very long fiber-optic sensors are feasible and hold the promise of better wind-noise reduction than can be achieved with acoustical-mechanical systems. (C) 2003 Acoustical Society, of America.
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