Self-Mixing Laser Anemometer

Period of Performance: 10/22/2010 - 10/22/2011


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Physical Optics Corp.
1845 West 205th Street Array
Torrance, CA 90501
Principal Investigator


To address the Navy s need for a system to measure three-component airflow velocities in the vicinity of full-scale helicopters, Physical Optics Corporation (POC) has developed and demonstrated an innovative Self-Mixing Laser Anemometer (SMILA) prototype. This proposed system is based on the self-mixing interference in a diode laser cavity. The innovative use of high-power semiconductor diode lasers in a non-coplanar geometry enables the SMILA system to measure three-component velocity of airflow in open airspace. In Phase I, POC demonstrated the feasibility of the SMILA system by measuring the velocity of unidirectional airflow in a laboratory environment with accuracy of within 2% in the velocity range 0 4 miles per hour. Additionally, less than 2 cm spatial resolution at 10-ft measurement range was achieved with the prototype using only 6-mW laser power. In Phase II, POC plans to develop a shipboard-deployable SMILA prototype using a 1-W laser, enabling SMILA to concurrently measure three-component airflow velocities throughout a volume of interest (400 ft x 160 ft x 40 ft) with spatial and frequency resolutions of 2 ft and 20 Hz, respectively. The prototype developed in Phase II will be installed and tested in a Navy ship or similar platform recommended by the Navy.