Abstract

A direct-detection wind lidar that operates with a multimode laser has been developed and tested. The instrument exploits the light backscattered by particles using a Mach–Zehnder interferometer with an optical path difference matched to the free spectral range of the laser longitudinal modes. In addition to requiring no monomodal emission, the system requires no frequency locking between the interferometer and the laser. We report laboratory and atmospheric measurements that show that the lidar is capable of measuring the radial wind velocity with a systematic error lower than 1ms1 and a random error lower than 2ms1 for a signal-to-noise ratio of 100. The development is motivated by the possibility to probe wind with a compact system in planetary atmospheres.

© 2013 Optical Society of America

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