2012 Award Recipient

Professor Xiaoyi Bao (Fiber Optics and Photonics)

Professor Xiaoyi Bao (University of Ottawa)
Professor Xiaoyi Bao is a leading researcher on understanding the mechanisms of Brillouin and Rayleigh light scattering in glass fibers, as well as a foremost expert on stimulated Brillouin scattering – distributed fiber optic sensing systems. She has made major improvements on sensing range, spatial resolution, and measurement. Bao’s research, and her collaborative efforts with industry, has led to real-life measuring applications and commercial photonic sensing systems, which is instrumental in preventing the collapse of steel and concrete structures.

Educational Background
Ph.D. Optics, Anhui Institute of Optics and Fine Mechanics, Academica Sinica, 1987
M.Sc. Optics, Nankai University, China, 1985
B.Sc. Optics, Nankai University, China, 1982

Major Contributions
Dr. Bao is a Tier I Canada Research Chair Professor in Fiber Optics and Photonics at the Physics Department, University of Ottawa. She works on using nonlinear effects in fibers to make fiber sensors, devices and lasers, as well as instrumentation. For her work, she has received honours and awards such as the CAP-INO Medal for Outstanding Achievement in Applied Photonics from the Canadian Association of Physicists, the Canada National Centers of Excellence Chairs’ Award Medal, Ontario Premier’s Research Excellence Award, the Faculty of Science Researcher of the Year Award from the University of Ottawa, and Merit Award from University of New Brunswick, and the inaugural University of Ottawa Inventor of the Year Award. She was selected as one of 16 women in the world for the 2006 SPIE Women in Optics calendar. Dr. Bao is a fellow of both the Optical Society of America and the Royal Society of Canada, and SPIE.

In Canada over 50% of bridges are more than 25 years old. The design load at that time was not as high as nowadays. The heavier traffic and higher speed today represent a much higher stress on bridges, especially aged bridges. This has accelerated considerably the deterioration of these infrastructures in addition to the extreme cold and winter snow effects caused by salt usage. The criterion of determining the priority in bridges repair, rehabilitation and rebuild and the allocation of rare and valuable public financial resources for these purposes depends on accurate monitoring of the structural condition, which is directly related to public safety.

Dr. Bao’s group has developed distributed temperature, strain and vibration sensors from ranges of a few hundred meters to hundreds of kilometers, using stand communication fiber itself as a sensor head to be attached to any structure. The distributed sensor enables identification of abnormal location and condition for a specific structure. Such a process enables early warning of disastrous events in highway bridges, and assessing condition of heritage buildings for renovations. As the distributed sensor is capable of detecting the damage inside the structures invisible from outside, the detection of internal defects in the macro level is important for early detection of failure in inspection-based maintenance program, so that the necessary steps can be taken to ensure system resilience both now and in the future.

Distributed sensors can also be used in monitoring critical transportation and electric power infrastructures such as airports, bridges, buildings, railways, power lines and water/energy supply pipes and lifetime of power engines.