Interferometry has been a tool for precision
measurement long before the invention of lasers. Traditional phase
measurement, as in the Michelson interferometer, observe an amplitude
modulation of interfering beams. The use of resonator based laser sensors
results in a substantial sensitivity improvement. The sensitivity to a phase
change is much higher than the conventional interferometer due to the sharp resonance
feature in a resonator, which implies repeated passage. What is needed is a method
of interferometry in an active resonator (laser) which combines the best of
both worlds: exploiting the ultimate resonance enhancement and converting phase
into a frequency rather than an amplitude measurement.
Researchers from the University of New
Mexico have created a new method of detecting gamma rays from neutrons. It is
based on a new technique of Intracavity Phase Interferometry (IPI), implemented
with compact mode-locked fiber lasers, which senses changes of indices of
refraction with utmost sensitivity. Unlike
traditional sensors where the signal is proportional to the length of the
sensing element, it can be shown that the sensitivity is independent of the
size of the laser device, and miniaturization is highly desirable.
STC has filed intellectual property on this exciting new technology and is currently exploring commercialization options. If you are interested in information about this or other technologies, please contact Arlene Mirabal at email@example.com or 505-272-7886.