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Opt Express. 2007 Jun 25;15(13):8135-45.

Detection of small particles in fluid flow using a self-mixing laser.


We describe a highly sensitive, real-time method of detecting small particles in a fluid flow by self-mixing laser Doppler measurement with a laser-diode-pumped, thin-slice solid-state laser with extremely high optical sensitivity. Asymmetric power spectra of the laser output modulated by the re-injected scattered light from the small particles moving in a dilute sample-flow, through a small-diameter glass pipe, were observed. The observed power spectra are shown to reflect the velocity distribution of the fluid flow, which obeys Poiseuille's law. Quick measurements of flow rate and kinetic viscosities of water-glycerol mixtures were also performed successfully. Measurable low-concentration limits for 262-nm polystyrene latex spheres and 3-mum red blood cells in a fluid flow were below 1 and 10 ppm, respectively, in the present self-mixing laser Doppler velocimeter system.

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