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Optical Techniques for Mechanical Measurement

  1. Catherine Wykes

Published Online: 15 JUL 2005

DOI: 10.1002/3527600434.eap641

Encyclopedia of Applied Physics

Encyclopedia of Applied Physics

How to Cite

Wykes, C. 2005. Optical Techniques for Mechanical Measurement. Encyclopedia of Applied Physics. .

Author Information

  1. University of Nottingham, School of Mechanical, Materials, Manufacturing Engineering and Management, University Park, Nottingham, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 JUL 2005


It is possible to measure a range of mechanical properties using light. These include presence, position, displacement, velocity, acceleration, surface form, and surface finish. This article summarizes the various methods and outlines the factors that limit their measurement performance. Representative values for commercially available systems are quoted where they are available and examples of applications are cited. The techniques discussed are presence detection, surface finish, optical triangulation, laser radar, interferometry, laser Doppler vibrometry and laser Doppler anemometry, electronic speckle pattern interferometry, holographic interferometry, moiré methods, and vision systems.


  • mechanical measurement;
  • optical measurement;
  • noncontact measurement;
  • holographic interferometry;
  • electronic speckle pattern interferometry;
  • optical triangulation;
  • laser Doppler velocimetry;
  • laser Doppler anemometry;
  • laser radar;
  • interferometry;
  • moiré;
  • moiré interferometry;
  • displacement measurement;
  • velocity measurement;
  • acceleration measurement;
  • strain measurement;
  • 3-D measurement;
  • vision systems