Abstract

We demonstrate the successful operation of a cw laser Doppler wind sensor at a wavelength of 1.55 µm. At longer ranges (>100 m) the signal conforms closely to complex Gaussian statistics, consistent with the incoherent addition of contributions from a large number of scattering aerosols. As the range is reduced, the probe volume rapidly diminishes and the signal statistics are dramatically modified. At the shortest ranges (<8 m) the signal becomes dominated by short bursts, each originating from a single particle within the measurement volume. These single-particle events can have a very high signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) because (1) the signal becomes concentrated within a small time window and (2) its bandwidth is much reduced compared with multiparticle detection. Examples of wind-signal statistics at different ranges and for a variety of atmospheric backscatter conditions are presented. Results show that single-particle-scattering events play a significant role even to ranges of ∼50 m, leading to results inconsistent with complex Gaussian statistics. The potential is assessed for a low-power laser Doppler wind sensor that exploits the SNR enhancement obtained with single-particle detection.

© 2001 Optical Society of America

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