A simple single-beam technique employing radio-frequency modulation of a tunable diode laser with homodyne demodulation is demonstrated as a means of measuring optical path lengths. This technique offers a straightforward method for determining path lengths traversed through optical multipass cells or performing optical range-finding over short (i.e., tens of meters) standoff distances. The radio-frequency phase-sensitive nature of the technique permits narrow-band detection and high signal-to-noise ratios, even when range-finding measurements are made with range resolutions of ≪1 m. This compares favorably with traditional short-pulse, wide-bandwidth optical range finders.
© 1996 Optical Society of America
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