A lightweight, small size, high sensitivity gauge for indirectly measuring displacement or absolute gap width by measuring axial strain in an orthogonal direction to the displacement/gap width. The gap gauge includes a preferably titanium base having a central tension bar with springs connecting opposite ends of the tension bar to a pair of end connector bars, and an elongated bow spring connected to the end connector bars with a middle section bowed away from the base to define a gap. The bow spring is capable of producing an axial strain in the base proportional to a displacement of the middle section in a direction orthogonal to the base. And a strain sensor, such as a Fabry-Perot interferometer strain sensor, is connected to measure the axial strain in the base, so that the displacement of the middle section may be indirectly determined from the measurement of the axial strain in the base.
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. W-7405-ENG-48 between the United States Department of Energy and the University of California for the operation of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.