Abstract A new and practical fluorescence temperature detecting system based on fluorescence intensity ratio was proposed. The background theory of fluorescence intensity-ratio method was presented simply. And the characters of rare earth doped samples were detailed. The erbium-doped fiber was chosen as the sensing element. The energy levels of 2H 11/2 and 4S 3/2 are responsible for the emission of radiation at approximately 530 and 555 nm. The erbium-doped (960 ppm) fiber of length 20 cm and core diameter 3.2 μm was used as the sensing part. A silica photodiode transfers the fluorescence signal to electric signal, then the ratio of the average of the two different signals was calculated by the computer and the temperature was obtained. The ratio R of the intensity resulting from the transition between the two levels varies proportionly with temperature interval from 293 K to 373 K. The sensitivity of the sensor is approximately 0.05 K −1.