Optical EngineeringSignal response of a laser beam scanner
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A laser beam scanner, used as an angle measuring device in a particular navigation system for mobile robots, has been developed. It measures heading angles to beacons made of vertical stripes of retroreflective tape. Expressions giving the received power and energy in the pulse, which is generated when a beacon is traversed by the laser beam, are given. Measurements support the derived expressions. The shape and amplitude of the pulse are functions of the range R to the beacon, but at long range the pulse shape and width become independent of range while the dependence of the received amplitude on range becomes R-3. At long range the pulse shape is determined by the Gaussian irradiance distribution in the laser beam and the pulse width is governed by the laser beam divergence and the scanning speed. Design rules for the optimum field of view of the receiving optics and for an electrical filter, which maximizes the signal-to-noise ratio, are proposed. An expression giving a conservative estimate of the signal-to-noise ratio is derived.