Ottawa, ON

Distributed Acoustic Sensor

Nominated by:

Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada

Year: 2021

About the Innovation

Dr. Xiaoyi Bao transformed the field of structural monitoring with her invention of Distributed Acoustic Sensor (DAS), an ultra-sensitive and precise optical fiber based technology installed in civil structures, and capable of detecting dynamic stress and high and low frequency vibrations indicative of crack formation. Her technology, which has more applications, smaller size, better predictive capacity and cost point, showcases Canada as an innovative force for change on the world stage. Not only is Dr. Bao’s technology saving governments millions in maintenance, but most importantly it is helping to protect the environment from oil spills and saving lives by ensuring the integrity of bridges, pipelines, railway and airplanes worldwide.

About the Innovator

A Canada Research Chair in Fiber Optics and Photonics and Professor of Physics at the University of Ottawa, Dr. Xiaoyi Bao is a world-renowned fiber sensor expert. She is the mastermind behind distributed acoustic and vibration sensors that find a multitude of applications for ensuring the safety of our society, from monitoring ocean waves for early detection of natural disasters, to detecting stress and cracks in civil structures, airplanes and satellites. Her work has created a tectonic shift in how we monitor infrastructure safety and quickly became the new standard worldwide. Dr. Bao is a brilliant scientist and visionary leader, whose pioneering fundamental and applied physics research has earned her global recognition. She was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (RSC) in 2009 for her remarkable contributions in her field and to Canadian public life. She is the first woman to win two Canadian Association of Physicists medals for Outstanding Achievements and the only Canadian to have been highlighted in the first International Society for Optics and Photonics “Women in Optics” calendar. In addition to being a world-renowned fiber sensor scientist, Dr. Xiaoyi Bao is, without a doubt, an inspiring role model for women aspiring to a successful, meaningful and impactful career in science. She has also received an honorary Doctorate Degree from the University of Lethbridge and is an elected Board member of the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada (1998-2001), elected council member of the RSC (2009-2011), and the honorary secretary of the Academy of Science of the RSC (2009-2011). Dr. Bao is a true pioneer who challenges technology to be more efficient, effective and economical, to make infrastructure safer for millions of people across the world. With this spirit and tenacity, she is reimagining what is possible.

Dr. Xiaoyi Bao

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