23 January 2002 Design and performance of a 3D imaging photon-counting microlaser altimeter operating from aircraft cruise altitudes under day or night conditions
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Abstract
The present paper reports on the design and performance of a scanning, photon-counting laser altimeter, capable of daylight operations from aircraft cruise altitudes. In test flights, the system has successfully recorded high repetition rate returns from clouds, soils, man-made objects, vegetation, and water surfaces under full solar illumination. Following the flights, the signal was reliably extracted from the solar noise background using a Post- Detection Poisson Filtering technique. The passively Q-switched microchip Nd:YAG laser measures only 2.25 mm in length and is pumped by a single 1.2 Watt GaAs laser diode. The output is frequency-doubled to take advantage of higher detector counting efficiencies and narrower spectral filters available at 532 nm. The transmitter produces several microjoules of green energy in a subnanosecond pulse at rates approaching 10 kHz. The illuminated ground area is imaged by a 14-cm diameter, diffraction-limited, off-axis telescope onto a segmented anode photomultiplier. Each anode segment is input to one channel of fine range receiver (5-cm resolution), which records the times-of-flight of individual photons. A parallel coarse receiver provides a lower resolution (greater than 75 cm) histogram of all scatterers between the aircraft and ground and centers the fine receiver gate on the last set of returns.
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John J. Degnan, John J. Degnan, Jan F. McGarry, Jan F. McGarry, Thomas W. Zagwodzki, Thomas W. Zagwodzki, Phillip W. Dabney, Phillip W. Dabney, Jennifer Geiger, Jennifer Geiger, Richard Chabot, Richard Chabot, Charles Steggerda, Charles Steggerda, Joseph Marzouk, Joseph Marzouk, Andrew Chu, Andrew Chu, "Design and performance of a 3D imaging photon-counting microlaser altimeter operating from aircraft cruise altitudes under day or night conditions", Proc. SPIE 4546, Laser Radar: Ranging and Atmospheric Lidar Techniques III, (23 January 2002); doi: 10.1117/12.453978; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.453978
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