Quantitative measurements of atmospheric aerosol optical properties are required for studies of the Earth’s radiation
budget and climate change. Taking advantage of the broad spectrum of the Cabannes-Brillouin scattering from
atmospheric molecules, the high spectral resolution lidar (HSRL) technique employs a narrow spectral filter to reject the
aerosol Mie scattering component in the lidar return signals. Therefore, an HSRL can directly measure the extinction and backscatter coefficient as well as the lidar ratio. Since the backscattering signal is proportional to 1/λ4, it presents high requirements for the spectral filter to build a near-infrared HSRL. The atomic/molecular absorption filters are limited by the wavelength and it is also challenging for Fabry-Perot interferometers (FPI) due to their small field of view(FOV). The field-widened Michelson interferometer, which has a large FOV, is considered to be a good candidate for the spectral filter of near-infrared HSRL. A polarized near-infrared HSRL instrument, which employs a field-widened Michelson interferometer as the spectral filter, is under development at the Zhejiang University (ZJU), China. In this paper, the methodology and design process of the instrument will be described in detail. The capability of the HSRL in determining the properties of the atmosphere will be addressed. The retrieval of the aerosol optical properties, such as
extinction-to-backscatter ratio and aerosol depolarization ratio, will be presented. Sensitivity of the aerosol retrieval to
errors in characterizing the spectral filter will also be investigated.