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Opt Express. 2011 Sep 12;19(19):18501-9. doi: 10.1364/OE.19.018501.

Sub-micron absolute distance measurements in sub-millisecond times with dual free-running femtosecond Er fiber-lasers.

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Center for Measurement Standards, Industrial Technology Research Institute, Hsinchu, Taiwan.


We demonstrate a simplified dual-comb LIDAR setup for precision absolute ranging that can achieve a ranging precision of 2 μm in 140 μs acquisition time. With averaging, the precision drops below 1 μm at 0.8 ms and below 200 nm at 20 ms. The system can measure the distance to multiple targets with negligible dead zones and a ranging ambiguity of 1 meter. The system is much simpler than a previous coherent dual-comb LIDAR because the two combs are replaced by free-running, saturable-absorber-based femtosecond Er fiber lasers, rather than tightly phase-locked combs, with the entire time base provided by a single 10-digit frequency counter. Despite the simpler design, the system provides a factor of three improved performance over the previous coherent dual comb LIDAR system.


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