Abstract

The heterodyne technique has a number of advantages over the homodyne technique when an accurate characterization of particle-size distribution (PSD) of heterogeneous systems is required. However, there are problems related to acoustic vibrations that make it difficult to take advantage of the heterodyne technique. An instrument developed for quasi-elastic light scattering (QELS) that uses the optical heterodyning principle is described. Vibration-related problems are considerably reduced because of the incorporation of all optical elements into one solid optical block. A real-time correlation analysis of the photocurrent fluctuations is performed by a PC-embedded analog-to-digital converter card with a digital signal processor. Investigation of the PSD in biological fluids for medical diagnostics is presented as a typical application. A diagnostic analysis of the PSD requires a simultaneous processing of a huge number of QELS data. An original statistical algorithm to accomplish this analysis has been developed. Technical specifications of instrumentation for heterodyne QELS measurement are discussed.

© 1997 Optical Society of America

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