Laser anemometer signals: Visibility characteristics and application to particle sizing

Ronald J. Adrian, Kenneth L. Orloff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


The signal visibility characteristics of a dual beam laser anemometer operated in a backscatter mode have been investigated both experimentally and analytically. The analysis is based on Mie’s electromagnetic scattering theory for spherical particles and is exact within the limitations of the scattering theory. It is shown that the signal visibility is a function of the ratio of the particle diameter to the fringe spacing in a certain, restricted case; but more generally it also depends on the Mie scattering size parameter, refractive index, the illuminating beam polarization, and the size, shape, and location of the light collecting aperture. The character of backscatter signal visibility differs significantly from the forward scatter case, and it is concluded that backscatter measurements of particle diameters using the visibility sizing technique may not always be possible. Restrictions on the forward scatter application of the visibility sizing method are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)677-684
Number of pages8
JournalApplied Optics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1977
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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