Absolute distance measurements can be achieved by frequency scanning interferometry which uses a tunable laser. The main drawback of this method is that it is extremely sensitive to the movement of targets. In addition, since this method is limited to the linearity of frequency scanning, it is commonly used for close measurements within tens of meters. In order to solve these problems, a double-sideband frequency scanning interferometry system is presented in the paper. It generates two opposite frequency scanning signals through a fixed frequency laser and a Mach–Zehnder modulator. And the system distinguishes the two interference fringe patterns corresponding to the two signals by IQ demodulation (i.e., quadrature detection) of the echo. According to the principle of double-sideband modulation, the two signals have the same characteristics. Therefore, the error caused by the target movement can be effectively eliminated, which is similar to dual-laser frequency scanned interferometry. In addition, this method avoids the contradiction between laser frequency stability and swept performance. The system can be applied to measure the distance of the order of kilometers, which profits from the good linearity of frequency scanning. In the experiment, a precision about 3 μm was achieved for a kilometer-level distance.
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We acknowledge the financial support from Institute of Electronics Chinese Academy of Sciences (IECAS). And this work is partly supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) (61575198).
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Mo, D., Wang, R., Li, G. et al. Double-sideband frequency scanning interferometry for long-distance dynamic absolute measurement. Appl. Phys. B 123, 272 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00340-017-6849-x