We introduce a three-dimensional sensor designed primarily for rough objects that supplies an accuracy that is limited only by the roughness of the object surface. This differs from conventional optical systems in which the depth accuracy is limited by the aperture. Consequently, our sensor supplies high accuracy with a small aperture, i.e., we can probe narrow crevices and holes. The sensor is based on a Michelson interferometer, with the rough object surface serving as one mirror. The small coherence length of the light source is used. While scanning the object in depth, one can detect the local occurrence of interference within the speckles emerging from the object. We call this method coherence radar.
© 1992 Optical Society of America
Original Manuscript: May 6, 1991
Published: March 1, 1992
Thomas Dresel, Gerd Häusler, and Holger Venzke, "Three-dimensional sensing of rough surfaces by coherence radar," Appl. Opt. 31, 919-925 (1992)