1 November 2012 A flexible eye-safe lidar instrument for elastic-backscatter and DIAL
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Developments in lidar have been driven largely by improvements in two key technologies: lasers and detectors. We describe here a lidar instrument for atmospheric remote sensing using the elastic-backscatter and differential-absorption lidar (DIAL) techniques. The instrument features an all-solid-state laser source combined with a flexible approach to detection providing portability, eye-safe operation and high sensitivity. The system is built around a custom-designed Newtonian telescope with a 0.38 m diameter primary mirror. Laser sources and detectors attach directly to the side of the telescope allowing for flexible customization with a range of equipment. The laser source is based on an optical parametric oscillator (OPO). The OPO is pumped by a neodymiumbased diode-laser pumped solid-state laser and angle-tuned by rotating the nonlinear conversion crystal. This provides a wide range of available wavelengths suitable for lidar within the 1.55 μm to 3.10 μm spectral region, where there exists a relatively high exposure limit for eye safety. The OPO delivers 1 mJ output pulse energy which is expanded and then transmitted coaxially from the telescope. Our goal is to make vertically-resolved measurements of greenhouse gas concentrations using DIAL. The source can rapidly be tuned between the on-line and off-line wavelengths to make a DIAL measurement. The use of the 1.6 μm wavelength region allows for several detection schemes. Whilst photodiode detectors are a very low-cost solution their limited sensitivity restricts the maximum range over which a signal can be detected. We therefore have designed the instrument to support alternative detection schemes including avalanche photodiodes (APDs).
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Iain Robinson, Iain Robinson, Jim W. Jack, Jim W. Jack, Cameron F. Rae, Cameron F. Rae, John Moncrieff, John Moncrieff, } "A flexible eye-safe lidar instrument for elastic-backscatter and DIAL", Proc. SPIE 8534, Remote Sensing of Clouds and the Atmosphere XVII; and Lidar Technologies, Techniques, and Measurements for Atmospheric Remote Sensing VIII, 85340X (1 November 2012); doi: 10.1117/12.974746; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.974746

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