Abstract

The use of structured light beams to detect the velocity of targets moving perpendicularly to the beam’s propagation axis opens new avenues for remote sensing of moving objects. However, determining the direction of motion is still a challenge because detection is usually done by means of an interferometric setup, which only provides an absolute value of the frequency shift. In this Letter, we present a novel method that addresses this issue. It uses dynamic control of the phase in the transverse plane of the structured light beam so that the direction of the particles’ movement can be deduced. This is done by noting the change in the magnitude of the frequency shift as the transverse phase of the structured light is moved appropriately. We demonstrate our method with rotating microparticles that are illuminated by a Laguerre–Gaussian beam with a rotating phase about its propagation axis. Our method, which only requires a dynamically configurable optical beam generator, can easily be used with other types of motion by appropriate engineering and dynamic modulation of the phase of the light beam.

© 2014 Optical Society of America

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