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Proceedings Paper

Inherent visible light signature of an intense underwater ultraviolet light source due to combined Raman and fluorescence effects
Author(s): Charles H. Mazel; Jody Kalata-Olson; Chuong N. Pham
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Paper Abstract

We investigated the utility of a portable, intense source of ultraviolet light for diver use in support of Very Shallow Water operations. The working hypothesis was that the light would be of use to divers at short-to-medium ranges (up to several meters) while remaining invisible to surface observers due to the incoherent insensitivity of the human eye to ultraviolet light. The light source contained an arc discharge lamp rich in short wavelengths and was fitted with a filter that transmitted only the near ultraviolet portion of the spectrum. In-water tests were made in darkness using Navy divers both in a natural coastal environment and in a test tank. It was found that the light was of limited utility to the divers. In addition, the light was not covert because of a bluish-white glow associated with the ultraviolet beam. Subsequent measurements demonstrated that the visible glow was produced by a combination of fluorescence of dissolved organic matter in the water and Raman scatter from the water itself. The relative importance of the two factors varied with water type. These two effects that transform light from the invisible to the visible impose inherent limitations on the use of ultraviolet light for covert operations.

Paper Details

Date Published: 12 July 2000
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 4039, Information Systems for Divers and Autonomous Underwater Vehicles Operating in Very Shallow Water and Surf Zone Regions II, (12 July 2000); doi: 10.1117/12.391885
Show Author Affiliations
Charles H. Mazel, Physical Sciences, Inc. (United States)
Jody Kalata-Olson, Naval Surface Warfare Ctr. (United States)
Chuong N. Pham, Naval Surface Warfare Ctr. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4039:
Information Systems for Divers and Autonomous Underwater Vehicles Operating in Very Shallow Water and Surf Zone Regions II
Jody L. Wood-Putnam, Editor(s)

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