A coherent laser radar has been built by use of a master-oscillator power-amplifier arrangement in which the master oscillator is an external-cavity semiconductor laser and the power amplifier is an erbium-doped fiber amplifier with ∼1-W output at a wavelength of 1.55 µm. The beams are routed within single-mode optical fiber, allowing modular construction of the optical layout with standard components. The system employs separate transmit and receive optics (a bistatic configuration) and has sufficient sensitivity for reliable Doppler wind-speed detection in moderate scattering conditions at short range (to as much as ∼200 m). The bistatic arrangement leads to a well-defined probe volume formed by the intersection of the transmitted laser beam with the virtual backpropagated local-oscillator beam. This could be advantageous for applications in which the precise localization of wind speed is required (e.g., wind tunnel studies) or in which smoke, low cloud, or solid objects can lead to spurious signals. The confinement of the probe volume also leads to a reduction in the signal power. A theoretical study has been carried out on the reduction in wind signal strength compared with the monostatic arrangement, and the results are compared with experimental observation.
© 2001 Optical Society of AmericaPDF Article