Blue-green laser systems are being developed for optical imaging and ranging in the underwater environment. The imaging application requires high range resolution to distinguish between multiple targets in the scene or between multiple target features, while the ranging application benefits from measurements with high range accuracy. The group at the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD) in Patuxent River, MD has been investigating the merging of wideband radar modulation schemes with a pulsed laser system for underwater imaging and ranging applications. For the imaging application, the narrow peak produced by pulse compression at the receiver offers enhanced range resolution relative to traditional short pulse approaches. For ranging, the selection of modulation frequency bands approaching 1GHz provides backscatter and forward scatter suppression and enhanced range accuracy. Both passband and baseband digital processing have been applied to data collected in laboratory water tank experiments. The results have shown that the choice of processing scheme has a significant impact on optimizing the performance of modulated pulse laser systems for either imaging or ranging applications. These different processing schemes will be discussed, and results showing the effect of the processing schemes for imaging and ranging will be presented.
L. Mullen, R. Lee, and D. Illig, "Optimizing the performance of modulated pulse laser systems for imaging and ranging applications," Proc. SPIE 10186, Ocean Sensing and Monitoring IX, 101860E (Presented at SPIE Defense + Security: April 11, 2017; Published: 22 May 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2264619.
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