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28 April 2009 Photon detectors with large dynamic range and at near-infrared wavelength for direct detection space lidars
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Abstract
Space-based lidar instruments must be able to detect extremely weak laser return signals from orbital distance. The signals have a wide dynamic range caused by the variability in atmospheric transmission and surface reflectance under a fast moving spacecraft. Ideally, lidar detectors should be able to detect laser signal return pulses at the single photon level and produce linear output for multiple photon events. They should have high quantum efficiency in the nearinfrared wavelength region where high-pulse-energy space-qualified lasers are available. Silicon avalanche photodiode (APD) detectors have been used in most space lidar receivers to date. Their sensitivity is typically hundreds of photons per pulse at 1064 nm, and is limited by the quantum efficiency, APD gain noise, dark current, and preamplifier noise. NASA is investigating photon-sensitive near-infrared detectors with linear response for possible use on the next generation direct-detection space lidars. We have studied several types of linear mode avalanche photodiode detectors that are sensitive from 950 nm to 1600 nm and potentially viable for near term space lidar missions. We present our measurement results and a comparison of their performance.
© (2009) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Michael A. Krainak, Xiaoli Sun, Guangning Yang, Laddawan R. Miko, and James B. Abshire "Photon detectors with large dynamic range and at near-infrared wavelength for direct detection space lidars", Proc. SPIE 7320, Advanced Photon Counting Techniques III, 732005 (28 April 2009); doi: 10.1117/12.818796; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.818796
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