Precision measurements of atmospheric conditions is a challenging but important task. One solution are laser based measurement systems. These enable precision wind velocity measurements for wind shear detection and the optimization of wind farm turbines. In addition, greenhouse gas concentrations can be measured from satellite based laser systems.

Artistic rendering of a laser being used to measure wind velocities

To measure precise changes in wind velocities lasers can be used to probe the atmosphere at long ranges. The changing wind patterns reflect a small amount of light back to the instrument at a slightly different color from the outgoing light. This technique is known as Doppler LIDAR (Doppler Light Detection and Ranging). 

MicroR Systems based in Lausanne, Switzerland is developing compact ultra-stable lasers based on their optical microresonator technology for range of meteorologically relevant wavelengths. Optical microresonator are tiny optical devices that can be used to greatly enhance the purity of a laser’s color for applications in frequency modulated continuous wave LIDAR systems.

A crystalline optical microresonator that can be used to create ultra-stable lasers

This technology was developed with support from the EIC FET Open under project OPTIMISM. For more information, please visit MicroR website.