A very small and simple velocimeter is presented consisting of a diode laser with a gradient-index lens in front of it. The basis of the velocity measurement is the mixing that occurs when light, scattered back by the moving object into the laser cavity, interferes with light inside the laser. This mixing induces large fluctuations of the laser intensity with the Doppler frequency. These fluctuations can be detected either with a photodiode or by measuring the voltage across the diode laser. As an illustration of the performance of the velocimeter, velocity measurements of a rotating disk covered with white paper are described. The differences arising because of using a single-mode or a multilongitudinal mode laser were calculated and verified in experiments. The advantage of the use of a multimode laser is that differential measurements of the distance between laser and moving object are also possible.
© 1988 Optical Society of America
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