We demonstrate the successful operation of a cw laser Doppler wind sensor at a wavelength of 1.55 µm. At longer ranges (>100 m) the signal conforms closely to complex Gaussian statistics, consistent with the incoherent addition of contributions from a large number of scattering aerosols. As the range is reduced, the probe volume rapidly diminishes and the signal statistics are dramatically modified. At the shortest ranges (<8 m) the signal becomes dominated by short bursts, each originating from a single particle within the measurement volume. These single-particle events can have a very high signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) because (1) the signal becomes concentrated within a small time window and (2) its bandwidth is much reduced compared with multiparticle detection. Examples of wind-signal statistics at different ranges and for a variety of atmospheric backscatter conditions are presented. Results show that single-particle-scattering events play a significant role even to ranges of ∼50 m, leading to results inconsistent with complex Gaussian statistics. The potential is assessed for a low-power laser Doppler wind sensor that exploits the SNR enhancement obtained with single-particle detection.
© 2001 Optical Society of America
Original Manuscript: May 11, 2000
Revised Manuscript: October 1, 2000
Published: February 20, 2001
Michael Harris, Guy N. Pearson, Kevin D. Ridley, Christer J. Karlsson, Fredrik Å. A. Olsson, and Dietmar Letalick, "Single-particle laser Doppler anemometry at 1.55 µm," Appl. Opt. 40, 969-973 (2001)