Real-time Fourier-transformation-based ranging lidar using a mode-locked femtosecond fiber laser is demonstrated. The object signal and the reference signal are guided from a fiber Mach–Zehnder interferometer into a dispersive element. The two optical pulses extend and overlap with each other temporally, which yields a microwave pulse on the photodetector with its frequency proportional to the time delay between the two signals. The temporal interferograms are transformed from the time domain into the frequency domain using a time-to-frequency conversion function obtained in the calibration process. The Fourier transform is used in the data processing. A range resolution of 334 nm at a sampling rate of 48.6 MHz over a distance of 16 cm is demonstrated in the laboratory.
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