Self-Mixing Interferometer With a Laser Diode: Unveiling the FM Channel and Its Advantages Respect to the AM Channel
In a self-mixing interferometer based on a diode laser, the measurement of the external reflector displacement s(t) is carried out by looking at the optical-phase signal cos2ks(t) , a signal readily detected as an amplitude modulation (AM) of emitted power. In contrast, the other available signal, sin 2ks(t) , a frequency modulation (FM) of the emitted field at optical frequency, is never used because difficult to recover. Recently, Contreras et al. used a narrow-band acetylene cell to convert the FM into an amplitude signal, finding it is larger and has a better SNR than the AM. In this paper, we analyze the advantages of the new CFM (converted-FM) signal, calculating both amplitude and SNR, and compare theoretical results to published experimental evidence, finding good agreement. We then present options for realizing the selective filter in different configurations and technology. Finally, we evaluate the improvement offered by CFM in a number of measurements, like sub-wavelength vibrations, digital readout displacement, and diode laser alpha factor.