Laser Doppler anemometry is a method for absolute velocity measurements that is based on a Mach–Zehnder interferometer arrangement and usually employs transverse fundamental-mode lasers. We employed inexpensive and powerful broad-area laser diodes and investigated ways in which an interference fringe system is influenced by the spatial coherence properties of a multimode beam. It was demonstrated that, owing to poor spatial coherence of the beam, interference is suppressed in the marginal regions of the intersection volume. Based on these results, a sensor for highly spatially resolved velocity measurements can be built. The inherent astigmatism of the broad-area diode is corrected by an arrangement of two crossed cylindrical lenses. An interference fringe system of length 200 μm and a relative variation in fringe-spacing of only 0.22% were demonstrated with light emitted from a broad-area laser diode with a 100 μm × 1 μm emitter size. Based on this principle a powerful, simple, and robust laser Doppler sensor has been achieved. Highly spatially resolved measurements of a boundary layer flow are presented.
© 2005 Optical Society of America
Original Manuscript: August 18, 2004
Revised Manuscript: October 27, 2004
Manuscript Accepted: November 15, 2004
Published: March 20, 2005
Lars Büttner and Jürgen Czarske, "Investigation of the influence of spatial coherence of a broad-area laser diode on the interference fringe system of a Mach–Zehnder interferometer for highly spatially resolved velocity measurements," Appl. Opt. 44, 1582-1590 (2005)