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29 December 2004 Remote bioaerosol detection using a broadband 1.5-micron laser
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Bioaerosol weapons pose a threat to both troops and civilians. Remote detection of bioaerosols is important for timely deployment of effective countermeasures against these weapons and for triggering other detection systems. In this paper we describe a new approach for remote bioaerosol detection based on an eye-safe spectrally broadband backscatter LIDAR. This technique illuminates a remote cloud using a spectrally broadband laser centred about 1.5 μm. The spectrally backscattered fraction of the broadband illumination beam is detected. Using an inverse Monte Carlo algorithm, the particle size distribution and refractive index of the cloud particles can be determined. In this way threat clouds containing anomalous man-made distributions of particles could be discriminated from normal background clouds. The laser is a custom designed source based on a special non-collinear optical parametric oscillator configuration. The laser produces Q-switched pulses with a maximum spectral bandwidth covering the 1.4 to 1.8 μm region. In practice the spectral region of 1.52 to 1.75 μm is used as this matches an atmospheric transmission window. A comparison of this broadband backscatter LIDAR technique, with the commonly used UV lidar fluorescence technique will be presented. Progress to date and details of a prototype LIDAR system will be described.
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Nicholas J. Wood, James B. Gillespie, and David A. Ligon "Remote bioaerosol detection using a broadband 1.5-micron laser", Proc. SPIE 5617, Optically Based Biological and Chemical Sensing for Defence, (29 December 2004);

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