OSA's Digital Library

Applied Optics

Applied Optics


  • Vol. 51, Iss. 12 — Apr. 20, 2012
  • pp: 1853–1864

Wind speed measurements of Doppler-shifted absorption lines using two-beam interferometry

Robert M. Pierce and Shane E. Roark  »View Author Affiliations

Applied Optics, Vol. 51, Issue 12, pp. 1853-1864 (2012)

View Full Text Article

Enhanced HTML    Acrobat PDF (1390 KB)

Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Browse by Journal and Year


Lookup Conference Papers

Close Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Article Tools



Wind speed can be measured remotely, with varying degrees of success, using interferometry of Doppler-shifted optical spectra. Under favorable conditions, active systems using laser pulse backscatter are capable of high resolution; passive systems, which measure Doppler shifts of atmospheric emission lines in the mesosphere, have also been shown. Two-beam interferometry of Doppler-shifted absorption lines has not been previously investigated; we describe such an effort here. Even in a well-defined environment, measuring absorption line Doppler shifts requires overcoming several technical hurdles in order to obtain sensitivity to wind speeds on the order of 10m/s. These hurdles include precise knowledge of the shape of the absorption line, tight, stable filtering, and understanding precisely how an interferometer phase should respond to a change in the absorption profile. We discuss the instrument design, a Michelson interferometer and Fabry–Perot filter, and include an analysis of how to choose the optimal optical path difference of the two beams for a given spectrum and filter. We discuss two beam interferometric measurements of emission line and absorption line Doppler shifts, and include an illustration of the effects of filtering on LIDAR Doppler interferometry. Finally, we discuss the construction and implementation of a Michelson interferometer used to measure Doppler shifts of oxygen absorption lines and present results obtained with 5m/s wind speed measurement precision. Although the theoretical shot noise limited Doppler wind speed measurement of the system described can be less than 1m/s, the instrument’s resolution limit is dominated by residual filter instability. Application of absorption line interferometry to determine atmospheric wind speeds remains problematic.

© 2012 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(120.0280) Instrumentation, measurement, and metrology : Remote sensing and sensors
(120.2440) Instrumentation, measurement, and metrology : Filters
(120.3180) Instrumentation, measurement, and metrology : Interferometry
(120.4640) Instrumentation, measurement, and metrology : Optical instruments

ToC Category:
Instrumentation, Measurement, and Metrology

Original Manuscript: September 26, 2011
Revised Manuscript: February 15, 2012
Manuscript Accepted: February 16, 2012
Published: April 11, 2012

Robert M. Pierce and Shane E. Roark, "Wind speed measurements of Doppler-shifted absorption lines using two-beam interferometry," Appl. Opt. 51, 1853-1864 (2012)

Sort:  Author  |  Year  |  Journal  |  Reset  


  1. National Research Council, “Summaries of recommended missions,” in Earth Science and Applications from Space: National Imperatives for the Next Decade and Beyond(National Academies, 2007), p. 137.
  2. W. E. Baker, G. D. Emmitt, F. Robertson, R. M. Atlas, J. E. Molinari, D. A. Bowdle, J. Paegle, R. M. Hardesty, R. T. Menzies, T. N. Krishnamurti, R. A. Brown, M. J. Post, J. R. Anderson, A. C. Lorenc, and J. McElroy, “Lidar-measured winds from space: A key component for weather and climate prediction,” Bull. Am. Meteorol. Soc. 76, 869–888 (1995). [CrossRef]
  3. T. Fujii and T. Fukuchi, Laser Remote Sensing (CRC, 2005).
  4. P. Hays, M. Dehring, L. Fisk, P. Tchoryk, I. Dors, J. Ryan, J. Wang, M. Hardesty, B. Gentry, and F. Hovis, “Space-based Doppler winds LIDAR: a vital national need,” in response to NRC Decadal Study Request for Information, http://space.hsv.usra.edu/LWG/Splash%20Papers/Hays.pdf .
  5. D. Bruneau, A. Garnier, A. Hertzog, and J. Porteneuv, “Wind-velocity lidar measurements by use of a Mach–Zehnder interferometer, comparison with a Mach–Zehnder interferometer, comparison with a Fabry–Perot interferometer,” Appl. Opt. 43, 173–182 (2004). [CrossRef]
  6. D. Bruneau, “Mach-Zehnder interferometer as a spectral analyzer for molecular Doppler wind lidar,” Appl. Opt. 40, 391–399 (2001). [CrossRef]
  7. N. Cézard, A. Dolfi-Bouteyre, J. Huignard, and N. Cézard, “Performance evaluation of a dual fringe-imaging Michelson interferometer for air parameter measurements with a 355 nm Rayleigh–Mie lidar,” Appl. Opt. 48, 2321–2332(2009). [CrossRef]
  8. C. J. Grund, J. Howell, R. Pierce, and M. Stephens, “Optical autocovariance direct detection lidar for simultaneous wind, aerosol, and chemistry profiling from ground, air, and space platforms,” Proc. SPIE 7312, 73120U (2009). [CrossRef]
  9. European Space Agency, ADM-Aeolus Science Report, ESA SP-1311 (European Space Agency, 2008).
  10. G. G. Shepherd, G. Thuillier, W. A. Gault, B. H. Solheim, C. Hersom, J. M. Alunni, J.-F. Brun, S. Brune, P. Charlot, L. L. Cogger, D.-L. Desaulniers, W. F. J. Evans, R. L. Gattinger, F. Girod, D. Harvie, R. H. Hum, D. J. W. Kendall, E. J. Llewellyn, R. P. Lowe, J. Ohrt, F. Pasternak, O. Peillet, I. Powell, Y. Rochon, W. E. Ward, R. H. Wiens, and J. Wimperis, “WINDII, the wind imaging interferometer on the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite,” J. Geophys. Res. 98, 10725–10750 (1993). [CrossRef]
  11. P. B. Hays, V. J. Abreu, M. E. Dobbs, D. A. Gell, H. J. Grassl, and W. R. Skinner, “The high resolution Doppler imager on the upper atmosphere research satellite,” J. Geophys. Res. 98, 10713–10723 (1993). [CrossRef]
  12. M. Born and E. Wolf, Principles of Optics, 5th ed. (Pergamon, 1975).
  13. PLEXUS Fact Sheet, http://www.kirtland.af.mil/library/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=7917 .
  14. More accurately, the phase [Eq. (18)] is only valid for small linear variations in ν0 and τ, since, according to Eq. (8), the phase is never this simple for an absorption measurement. In that case, we would append a multiplier to Eq. (18) to represent a nonunity slope, which would disappear at Eq. (20) anyway.
  15. Recall that we expect the phase shift for a Doppler shift of an absorption line to be opposite what it would be for an emission line. For an emission line, and light traveling with the wind, the Doppler frequency shift is negative, and against the wind we expect it to be positive. The caveat is that the phase shift for an increasing frequency into the interferometer is negative with regard to the CCD and data acquisition system. So with the wind, the absorption profile phase shift should be negative, which it is.
  16. B. E. Grossman, C. Cahen, J. L. Lesne, J. Benard, and G. Leboudec, “Intensities and atmospheric broadening coefficients measured for O2 and H2O absorption lines selected for DIAL monitoring of both temperature and humidity. 1:O2,” Appl. Opt. 25, 4261–4267 (1986). [CrossRef]

Cited By

Alert me when this paper is cited

OSA is able to provide readers links to articles that cite this paper by participating in CrossRef's Cited-By Linking service. CrossRef includes content from more than 3000 publishers and societies. In addition to listing OSA journal articles that cite this paper, citing articles from other participating publishers will also be listed.

« Previous Article  |  Next Article »

OSA is a member of CrossRef.

CrossCheck Deposited