A highly birefringent four-hole fiber (FHF) with a pair of large air holes and a pair of small air holes are proposed for air/hydrostatic pressure sensing. The birefringence of the FHF can be up to 0.01 due to the rectangle-like fiber core surrounded by four air holes. Therefore, a FHF with a length of only several centimeters is required for high-sensitivity pressure sensing based on a Sagnac interferometer. Optical properties of the FHF such as effective index and birefringence are investigated. Pressure sensor based on the FHF depends on the pressure-induced refractive index change or pressure-induced birefringence. The stress distribution of the FHF subjected to an air/hydrostatic pressure is represented. Simulations show that the principal stress component parallel to the slow axis of the of the FHF under the air/hydrostatic pressure is greatly enhanced due to the existence of two large air holes, which consequently results in a high sensitivity of the FHF-based pressure sensor. Relationships between the pressure-induced birefirngence and the radius of the large air hole, the external diameter of the FHF, or the ellipticity of the elliptical FHF are investigated. The polarimetric pressure sensitivity of the FHF can be up to 607 rad/MPa/m.
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