We propose a novel architecture for implementing a dual-frequency lidar (DFL) exploiting differential Doppler shift measurement. The two frequency tones, needed for target velocity measurements, are selected from the spectrum of a mode-locked laser operating in the C-band. The tones’ separation is easily controlled by using a programmable wavelength selective switch, thus allowing for a dynamic trade-off among robustness to atmospheric turbulence and sensitivity. Speed measurements for different tone separations equal to 10, 40, 80, and 160 GHz are demonstrated, proving the system’s capability of working in different configurations. Thanks to the acquisition system based on an analog-to-digital converter and digital-signal processing, real-time velocity measurements are demonstrated. The MLL-based proposed architecture enables the integration of the DFL with a photonic-based radar that exploits the same laser for generating and receiving radio-frequency signal with high performance, thus allowing for simultaneous or complementary target observations by exploiting the advantages of both radar and lidar.
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