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EMRP research published in Nature journal Scientific Reports

Agreement between the frequency comb method and a reference measurement

A new measurement technique developed in project SIB60 'Metrology for long distance surveying' has been described in Nature's Scientific Reports

EMRP project SIB60 'Metrology for long distance surveying' is developing optical surveying devices that can make accurate measurements over long-distances. As part of the project, collaborators from VSL and Technische Universiteit Delft (both in the Netherlands) developed a new measurement method that combines a femtosecond frequency comb laser with a high-resolution spectrometer.

The method proved astonishingly accurate, as demonstrated by distance measurements up to 50 meters, showing an agreement with a reference interferometer within one thousandth of a millimeter. Since the new method utilises the many thousands of different wavelengths present in the comb, a wealth of information is available, allowing for absolute distance determination without the need for displacement along a straight linear guide. This is a clear advantage compared to single wavelength interferometry. The method opens up opportunities for future applications ranging from large remote distance surveying, like monitoring land and sea level changes, but also for e.g. distance measurement between satellites over many kilometers.

The technique is described in full in a paper published in the open access journal Scientific Reports.


  • EMRP SIB60 Surveying project page
  • EMRP,
  • SI Broader Scope / Integrated European Metrology,
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