This PDF file contains the front matter associated with SPIE Proceedings Volume 9612, including the Title Page, Copyright information, Table of Contents, Introduction (if any), and Conference Committee listing.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) is an important greenhouse gas that significantly contributes to the carbon cycle and global radiation budget on Earth. CO2 role on Earth’s climate is complicated due to different interactions with various climate components that include the atmosphere, the biosphere and the hydrosphere. Although extensive worldwide efforts for monitoring atmospheric CO2 through various techniques, including in-situ and passive sensors, are taking place high uncertainties exist in quantifying CO2 sources and sinks. These uncertainties are mainly due to insufficient spatial and temporal mapping of the gas. Therefore it is required to have more rapid and accurate CO2 monitoring with higher uniform coverage and higher resolution. CO2 DIAL operating in the 2-μm band offer better near-surface CO2 measurement sensitivity due to the intrinsically stronger absorption lines. For more than 15 years, NASA Langley Research Center (LaRC) contributed in developing several 2-μm CO2 DIAL systems and technologies. This paper focuses on the current development of the airborne double-pulsed and triple-pulsed 2-μm CO2 integrated path differential absorption (IPDA) lidar system at NASA LaRC. This includes the IPDA system development and integration. Results from ground and airborne CO2 IPDA testing will be presented. The potential of scaling such technology to a space mission will be addressed.
Atmospheric methane (CH4) is the second most important anthropogenic greenhouse gas, with approximately 25 times the radiative forcing of carbon dioxide (CO2) per molecule. Yet, lack of understanding of the processes that control CH4 sources and sinks and its potential release from stored carbon reservoirs contributes significant uncertainty to our knowledge of the interaction between carbon cycle and climate change. At Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) we have been developing the technology needed to remotely measure CH4 from orbit. Our concept for a CH4 lidar is a nadir viewing instrument that uses the strong laser echoes from the Earth’s surface to measure CH4. The instrument uses a tunable, narrow-frequency light source and photon-sensitive detector to make continuous measurements from orbit, in sunlight and darkness, at all latitudes and can be relatively immune to errors introduced by scattering from clouds and aerosols. Our measurement technique uses Integrated Path Differential Absorption (IPDA), which measures the absorption of laser pulses by a trace gas when tuned to a wavelength coincident with an absorption line. We have already demonstrated ground-based and airborne CH4 detection using Optical Parametric Amplifiers (OPA) at 1651 nm using a laser with approximately 10 μJ/pulse at 5kHz with a narrow linewidth. Next, we will upgrade our OPO system to add several more wavelengths in preparation for our September 2015 airborne campaign, and expect that these upgrades will enable CH4 measurements with 1% precision (10-20 ppb).
The Global Ecosystems Dynamics Investigation (GEDI) Lidar, to be installed aboard the International Space Station in early 2018, will use 3 NASA laser transmitters to produce 14 parallel tracks of 25 m footprints on the Earth's surface. A global set of systematic canopy measurements will be derived, the most important of which are vegetation canopy top heights and the vertical distribution of canopy structure. Every digitized laser pulse waveform will provide 3-D biomass information for the duration of the mission. A total of 5 GEDI-HOMER lasers are to be built (1 ETU + 3 Flight + 1 spare) in-house at NASA-GSFC, and is based on a well-studied architecture, developed over several years in the Lasers and Electro-Optics Branch.
A long-lived UV laser is an enabling technology for a number of high-priority, space-based lidar instruments. These include next generation cloud and aerosol lidars that incorporates a UV channel, direct detection 3-D wind lidars, and ozone DIAL (differential absorption lidar) system. In previous SBIR funded work we developed techniques for increasing the survivability of components in high power UV lasers and demonstrated improved operational lifetimes. In this Phase III ESTO funded effort we are designing and building a TRL (Technology Readiness Level) 6 demonstrator that will have increased output power and a space-qualifiable package that is mechanically robust and thermally-stable. For full space compatibility, thermal control will be through pure conductive cooling. Contamination control processes and optical coatings will be chosen that are compatible with lifetimes in excess of 1 billion shots. The 1064nm output will be frequency tripled to provide greater than 100mJ pulses of 355nm light at 150 Hz. After completing the laser module build in the third quarter of 2015 we will initiate lifetime testing, followed by thermal/vacuum (TVAC) and vibration testing to demonstrate that the design is at TRL 6.
The Cloud-Aerosol Transport System (CATS) is a multi-wavelength lidar instrument developed to enhance Earth Science remote sensing capabilities from the International Space Station. The CATS project was chartered to be an experiment in all senses: science, technology, and management. As a low-cost project following a strict build-to-cost/ build-to-schedule philosophy, CATS is following a new management approach while also serving as a technology demonstration for future NASA missions. This presentation will highlight the CATS instrument and science objectives with emphasis on how the ISS platform enables the specific objectives of the payload. The development process used for CATS and a look at data being produced by the instrument will also be presented.
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) is working on maturing the technology readiness of a laser transmitter designed for use in atmospheric CO2 remote-sensing. GSFC has been developing an airplane-based CO2 lidar instrument over several years to demonstrate the efficacy of the instrumentation and measurement technique and to link the science models to the instrument performance. The ultimate goal is to make space-based satellite measurements with global coverage. In order to accomplish this, we must demonstrate the technology readiness and performance of the components as well as demonstrate the required power-scaling to make the link with the required signal-to-noise-ratio (SNR). To date, all the instrument components have been shown to have the required performance with the exception of the laser transmitter. In this program we are working on a fiber-based master oscillator power amplifier (MOPA) laser transmitter architecture where we will develop a ruggedized package and perform the relevant environmental tests to demonstrate TRL-6. In this paper we will review our transmitter architecture and progress on the performance and packaging of the laser transmitter.
Ground based lidar techniques using Raleigh and Raman scattering, differential absorption (DIAL), and supercontinuum sources are capable of providing unique signatures to study dynamical processes in the lower atmosphere. The most useful profile signatures of dynamics in the lower atmosphere are available in profiles of time sequences of water vapor and aerosol optical extinction obtained with Raman and DIAL lidars. Water vapor profiles are used to study the scales and motions of daytime convection cells, residual layer bursts into the planetary boundary layer (PBL), variations in height of the PBL layer, cloud formation and dissipation, scale sizes of gravity waves, turbulent eddies, as well as to study the seldom observed phenomena of Brunt–Väisälä oscillations and undular bore waves. Aerosol optical extinction profiles from Raman lidar provide another tracer of dynamics and motion using sequential profiles atmospheric aerosol extinction, where the aerosol distribution is controlled by dynamic, thermodynamic, and photochemical processes. Raman lidar profiles of temperature describe the stability of the lower atmosphere and measure structure features. Rayleigh lidar can provide backscatter profiles of aerosols in the troposphere, and temperature profiles in the stratosphere and mesosphere, where large gravity waves, stratospheric clouds, and noctilucent clouds are observed. Examples of several dynamical features are selected to illustrate interesting processes observed with Raman lidar. Lidar experiments add to our understanding of physical processes that modify atmospheric structure, initiate turbulence and waves, and describe the relationships between energy sources, atmospheric stability parameters, and the observed dynamics.
An overview of recent research results on the performance of two motion estimation algorithms used to deduce two-component horizontal wind fields from ground-based scanning elastic backscatter lidar is presented. One motion estimation algorithm is a traditional cross-correlation method optimized for atmospheric lidar data. The second algorithm is a recently-developed wavelet-based optical flow. An intercomparison of experimental results with measurements from an independent Doppler lidar over an agricultural area in Chico, California, during daytime convective conditions in 2013-14 are presented. Finally, early results from application of the algorithms to data collected over the ocean from a compact and portable aerosol lidar that was deployed on the northern California coast in March of 2015 are presented.
To address mission risk and cost limitations the US has faced in putting a much needed Doppler wind lidar into space, Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp, with support from NASA’s Earth Science Technology Office (ESTO), has developed the Optical Autocovariance Wind Lidar (OAWL), designed to measure winds from aerosol backscatter at the 355 nm or 532 nm wavelengths. Preliminary proof of concept hardware efforts started at Ball back in 2004. From 2008 to 2012, under an ESTO-funded Instrument Incubator Program, Ball incorporated the Optical Autocovariance (OA) interferometer receiver into a prototype breadboard lidar system by adding a laser, telescope, and COTS-based data system for operation at the 355 nm wavelength. In 2011, the prototype system underwent ground-based validation testing, and three months later, after hardware and software modifications to ensure autonomous operation and aircraft safety, it was flown on the NASA WB-57 aircraft. The history of the 2011 test flights are reviewed, including efforts to get the system qualified for aircraft flights, modifications made during the flight test period, and the final flight data results. We also present lessons learned and plans for the new, robust, two-wavelength, aircraft system with flight demonstrations planned for Spring 2016.
Although operating at the same near-infrared 1.5- m wavelength, the Raman-shifted Eye-safe Aerosol Lidar (REAL) and the Scanning Aerosol Micro-Pulse Lidar-Eye-safe (SAMPLE) are very different in how they generate and detect laser radiation. We present results from an experiment where the REAL and the SAMPLE were operated side-by-side in Chico, California, in March of 2015. During the non-continuous, eleven day test period, the SAMPLE instrument was operated at maximum pulse repetition frequency (15 kHz) and integrated over the interpulse period of the REAL (0.1 s). Operation at the high pulse repetition frequency resulted in second trip echoes which contaminated portions of the data. The performance of the SAMPLE instrument varied with background brightness--as expected with a photon counting receiver|--yet showed equal or larger backscatter intensity signal to noise ratio throughout the intercomparison experiment. We show that a modest low-pass filter or smooth applied to the REAL raw waveforms (that have 5x higher range resolution) results in significant increases in raw signal-to-noise ratio and image signal-to-noise ratio--a measure of coherent aerosol feature content in the images resulting from the scans. Examples of wind fields and time series of wind estimates from both systems are presented. We conclude by reviewing the advantages and disadvantages of each system and sketch a plan for future research and development activities to optimize the design of future systems.
Proc. SPIE 9612, Performance characterization of a pressure-tuned wide-angle Michelson interferometric spectral filter for high spectral resolution lidar, 96120H (1 September 2015); doi: 10.1117/12.2189114
High Spectral Resolution Lidar (HSRL) is typically realized using an absorption filter to separate molecular returns from particulate returns. NASA Langley Research Center (LaRC) has designed and built a Pressure-Tuned Wide-Angle Michelson Interferometer (PTWAMI) as an alternate means to separate the two types of atmospheric returns. While absorption filters only work at certain wavelengths and suffer from low photon efficiency due to light absorption, an interferometric spectral filter can be designed for any wavelength and transmits nearly all incident photons. The interferometers developed at LaRC employ an air spacer in one arm, and a solid glass spacer in the other. Field widening is achieved by specific design and selection of the lengths and refractive indices of these two arms. The principal challenge in using such an interferometer as a spectral filter for HSRL aboard aircraft is that variations in glass temperature and air pressure cause changes in the interferometer’s optical path difference. Therefore, a tuning mechanism is needed to actively accommodate for these changes. The pressure-tuning mechanism employed here relies on changing the pressure in an enclosed, air-filled arm of the interferometer to change the arm’s optical path length. However, tuning using pressure will not adjust for tilt, mirror warpage, or thermally induced wavefront error, so the structural, thermal, and optical behavior of the device must be well understood and optimized in the design and manufacturing process. The PTWAMI has been characterized for particulate transmission ratio, wavefront error, and tilt, and shows acceptable performance for use in an HSRL instrument.
Motivated by the growing need for more efficient, high output power laser transmitters, we demonstrate a multi-wavelength laser system for lidar-based applications. The demonstration is performed in two stages, proving energy scaling and nonlinear conversion independently for later combination. Energy scaling is demonstrated using a 1064 nm MOPA system which employs two novel ceramic Nd:YAG slab amplifiers, the structure of which is designed to improve the amplifier’s thermal performance and energy extraction via three progressive doping stages. This structure improved the extraction efficiency by 19% over previous single-stage dopant designs. A maximum energy of 34 mJ was produced at 500 Hz with a 10.8 ns pulse duration. High efficiency non-linear conversion from 1064 nm to 452 nm is demonstrated using a KTP ring OPO with a BBO intra-cavity doubler pumped with 50 Hz, 16 ns 1064 nm pulses. The OPO generates 1571 nm signal which is frequency doubled to 756 nm by the BBO. Output 786 nm pulses are mixed with the 1064 nm pump pulses to generate 452 nm. A conversion efficiency of 17.1% was achieved, generating 3 mJ of 452 nm pulses of 7.8 ns duration. Pump power was limited by intra-cavity damage thresholds, and in future experiments we anticipate >20% conversion efficiency.
The reaction time model is briefly reintroduced as published in a previous publication to explain the restrictions of detecting a horizontal homogenous wind field by two beams of a LiDAR placed on a wind turbine's nacelle. The model is parameterized to get more general statements for a beneficial system design concept. This approach is based on a parameterization towards the rotor disc radius R. All other parameters, whether they are distances like the measuring length or velocities like the cut-out wind speed, can be expressed by the rotor disc radius R. A review of state-of-the-art commercially available wind turbines and their size and rotor diameter is given to estimate the minimum measuring distances that will benefit most wind turbine systems in present as well as in the near future. In the end, the requirements are matched against commercially available LiDARs to show the necessity to advance such systems.
Ultra-narrow band pass filters are used to maximize LIDAR range and sensitivity. Alternate designs and measured fabrication results are presented for sub-nanometer band pass filters down to quarter nanometer bandwidths with 95% transmission. Thermal and angle sensitivity have been minimized. The filters are fabricated using dual source, plasma assisted magnetron sputtering. Single and multi-cavity designs are presented.