Abstract

We present a new technique applied to the variable optical synthetic wavelength generation in optical interferometry. It consists of a chain of optical injection locking among three lasers: first a distributed-feedback laser is used as a master to injection lock an intensity-modulated laser that is directly modulated around 15GHz by a radio frequency generator on a sideband. A second distributed-feedback laser is injection locked on another sideband of the intensity-modulated laser. The variable synthetic wavelength for absolute distance measurement is simply generated by sweeping the radio frequency over a range of several hundred megahertz, which corresponds to the locking range of the two slave lasers. In this condition, the uncertainty of the variable synthetic wavelength is equivalent to the radio frequency uncertainty. This latter has a relative accuracy of 107 or better, resulting in a resolution of ±25μm for distances exceeding tens of meters. The radio frequency generator produces a linear frequency sweep of 1ms duration (i.e., exactly equal to one absolute distance measurement acquisition time), with frequency steps of about 1MHz. Finally, results of absolute distance measurements for ranges up to 10m are presented.

© 2008 Optical Society of America

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