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Wednesday, February 1, 2017
Abstract-Multi-terahertz frequency sweeps for high-resolution, frequency-modulated continuous wave ladar using a distributed feedback laser array
Swept-wavelength reflectometry is an absolute distance measurement technique with significant sensitivity and detector bandwidth advantages over normal pulsed, time-of-flight methods. Although several tunable laser sources exist, many exhibit short coherence lengths or require mechanical tuning components. Semiconductor distributed feedback laser diodes (DFBs) are advantageous as a swept source because they exhibit a narrow instantaneous linewidth and can be frequency-swept simply via a single injection current. Here, we present a novel bandwidth generation technique that uses a compact, monolithic, 12-element DFB array to create an effectively continuous, gap-free sweep. Each DFB is sequentially swept over 3.5 nm at 1,600 THz/s using a shaped current pulse, ensuring spectral overlap between each element. After combining the self-heterodyned return signatures, the transform-limited resolution of the 43.6 nm sweep is demonstrated to be ~27.4 μm in air with a precision of 0.18 μm at a distance of 1.4 m.