Coherent laser ranging for precision imaging through flames

Published on 2018-08-08T17:42:15Z (GMT) by
Measuring the deformation of building elements engulfed by flames is essential in fire research to improve safety in the event of a fire. Ideally, the measurement system should be non-contact and able to range at the millimeter to meter scale with sub-mm precision and sufficient speed to capture temperature-induced deformations of the target object. To date, no ranging technology has been demonstrated that meets those requirements while imaging through flames. Here, we show that coherent laser detection and ranging (LADAR) can provide three-dimensional images of objects hidden behind methane or acetylene flames with sufficiently high precision to track their deformation. The heterodyne detection of coherent frequency modulated continuous wave (FMCW) LADAR allows the ranging signal to be detected in the presence of strong radiation of the flames. We measure three-dimensional point clouds of diffusely scattering complex surfaces with a precision of less than 30 μm at 2-meter stand-off distance, despite soot-induced signal loss and steering (refraction) of the ranging laser by the flames. Movies of the heat-induced surface deformation of objects illustrate the temporal performance. These data show that FMCW LADAR can quantify the deformation and movement of objects in fires, when non-contact shape measurements at stand-off distances of multiple meters are crucial.

Cite this collection

Mitchell, Eric; Hoehler, Matthew; Giorgetta, Fabrizio; Hayden, Torrey; Rieker, Gregory; Newbury, Nathan; et al. (2018): Coherent laser ranging for precision imaging through flames. The Optical Society. Collection.