5 May 2015 Compact optical displacement sensing by detection of microwave signals generated from a monolithic passively mode-locked laser under feedback
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Abstract
A monolithic passively mode-locked laser is proposed as a compact optical sensor for displacements and vibrations of a reflecting object. The sensing principle relies on the change of the laser repetition frequency that is induced by optical feedback from the object under measurement. It has been previously observed that, when a semiconductor passively mode locked laser receives a sufficient level of optical feedback from an external reflecting surface it exhibits a repetition frequency that is no more determined by the mode-locking rule of the free-running operation but is imposed by the length of the external cavity. Therefore measurement of the resulting laser repetition frequency under self-injection permits the accurate and straightforward determination of the relative position of the reflecting object. The system has an inherent wireless capability since the repetition rate of the laser can be wirelessly detected by means of a simple antenna which captures the microwave signal generated by the saturable absorber and is emitted through the wiring of the laser. The sensor setup is very simple as it requires few optical components besides the laser itself. Furthermore, the deduction of the relative position of the reflecting object is straightforward and does not require any processing of the detected signal. The proposed sensor has a theoretical sub-wavelength resolution and its performance depends on the RF linewidth of the laser and the resolution of the repetition frequency measurement. Other physical parameters that induce phase changes of the external cavity could also be quantified.
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Christos Simos, Hercules Simos, Thomas Nikas, Dimitris Syvridis, "Compact optical displacement sensing by detection of microwave signals generated from a monolithic passively mode-locked laser under feedback", Proc. SPIE 9506, Optical Sensors 2015, 95060F (5 May 2015); doi: 10.1117/12.2179046; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2179046
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