Abstract

An optical fiber interferometer of the Mach–Zehnder type has proved to be a convenient and accurate method for measuring the electric wind in the active region of a corona discharge. The technique relies on the cooling effect of the wind on a small heated region of one arm of the interferometer, which has been remotely heated with an infrared CO2 laser beam. Wind speeds of up to 5.5 m s−1 have been measured near the generation region, and by the use of a mesh electrode, the wind has been detected on the axis up to 0.5 m away from the gap. A number of characterization experiments that show the interferometer to be a useful diagnostic tool in the quantitative analysis of the CO2 laser beam have also been carried out, and good agreement between experimental results and theoretical calculations based on a simple heat–power balance equation for the fiber exists.

© 1995 Optical Society of America

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