Satellite Laser Ranging Systems typically operate on the second harmonic wavelength of a pulsed Nd:YAG laser at a wavelength of 532 nm. The absence of sufficiently sensitive photo-detectors with a reasonably large active area made it beneficial to trade the conversion loss of frequency doubling against the higher quantum efficiency of the detectors. Solid state silicon detectors in the near infra-red regime at λ = 1.064 µm also suffered from high thermal noise and slow signal rise times, which increased the scatter of the measurements by more than a factor of 3 over the operation at λ = 532 nm. With the availability of InGaAs/InP compound - Single Photon Avalanche Diodes the situation has changed considerably. Their quantum efficiency has reached 70% and the compound material of these diodes provides a response bandwidth, which is commensurate with high high speed detectors in the regime of 532 nm. We have investigated the properties of such a diode type Princeton Lightwave PGA-200-1064 for its suitability for SLR at the Nd:YAG fundamental wavelength with respect to the quantum efficiency and their timing properties. The results are presented in this paper. Furthermore, we provide remarks to on the performance of the diode compared to state of the art detectors, that operate at the Nd:YAG second harmonic wavelength. Finally, we give an estimate of the photoelectron statistics in satellite laser ranging for different operational parameters of the Wettzell Laser Ranging System.
Johann J. Eckl, K. Ulrich Schreiber, and Torben Schüler, "Satellite laser ranging in the near-infrared regime," Proc. SPIE 10229, Photon Counting Applications 2017, 102290J (Presented at SPIE Optics + Optoelectronics: April 25, 2017; Published: 15 May 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2270519.
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