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
(030.1670) Coherence and statistical optics : Coherent optical effects
(120.3180) Instrumentation, measurement, and metrology : Interferometry
(280.3340) Remote sensing and sensors : Laser Doppler velocimetry
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)