A micro-position sensor and sensing system using the Faraday Effect. The sensor uses a permanent magnet to provide a magnetic field, and a magneto-optic material positioned in the magnetic field for rotating the plane of polarization of polarized light transmitted through the magneto-optic material. The magnet is independently movable relative to the magneto-optic material so as to rotate the plane of polarization of the polarized light as a function of the relative position of the magnet. In this manner, the position of the magnet relative to the magneto-optic material may be determined from the rotated polarized light. The sensing system also includes a light source, such as a laser or LED, for producing polarized light, and an optical fiber which is connected to the light source and to the magneto-optic material at a sensing end of the optical fiber. Processing electronics, such as a polarimeter, are also provided for determining the Faraday rotation of the plane of polarization of the back-reflected polarized light to determine the position of the magnet relative to the sensing end of the optical fiber.
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. W-7405-ENG48 between the United States Department of Energy and the University of California for the operation of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.