Distance metrology using optical frequency comb a step closer to industrial applications

K. Hei

Research output: ThesisDissertation (TU Delft)

90 Downloads (Pure)


Length is one of the fundamental physical quantities and its precise measurement is very important for science and technology. Laser-based distance metrology technique is a powerful tool, which is widely applied in geodetic monitoring, environmental monitoring and precision measurement engineering including in space applications. Since the invention of the optical frequency comb (OFC) at the beginning of this century, it has been used as a versatile tool for many applications, such as frequency metrology, spectroscopy, etc. OFC has played an important role in distance metrology enabling the developed techniques to achieve high accuracy in long distance measurement. In the time domain, OFC is a pulse train, which can measure distance with time of flight method or correlation detection method. In the frequency domain, spectrum of OFC consists of a series of discrete lines with equal frequency difference. Methods of dispersive interferometry, multi-heterodyne interferometry, and multi-wavelength interferometry are the techniques proposed and demonstrated in spectral domain distance metrology. Though distance metrology techniques based on OFC have been developed for tens of years, there are still challenges that need to be overcome. In most applications the measurements are completed in the air, where the results are influenced by refractive index of air. As the OFC is a multi-wavelength laser source, refractive index of air is difficult to determine. The other challenge is complexity and high cost of measurement system. Until
now, to my knowledge, there is no commercial rangefinder which is based on OFC. The large size, complex configuration and high price are the bottlenecks restricting OFC’s entrance into industrial applications.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Delft University of Technology
  • Bhattacharya, N., Supervisor
  • Carroll, E.C.M., Advisor
Award date16 Jul 2021
Print ISBNs978-94-6421-414-7
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Frequency Comb
  • Integrated Optics
  • Distance Metrology


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