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Proceedings Paper

Miniature high-resolution laser radar operating at video rates
Author(s): Colin L. Smithpeter; Robert O. Nellums; Steve M. Lebien; George Studor
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Paper Abstract

We are developing a laser radar to meet the needs of NASA for a 5-lb, 150 in3 image sensor with a pixel range accuracy of 0.1-inch. NASA applications include structural dynamics measurements, navigation guidance in rendezvous and proximity operations, and space vehicle inspection. The sensor is based on the scannerless range imager architecture developed at Sandia. This architecture modulates laser floodlight illumination and a focal plane receiver to phase encode the laser time of flight (TOF) for each pixel. We believe this approach has significant advantages over architectures directly measuring TOF including high data rate, reduced detector bandwidth, and conventional focal plane array (FPA) detection. A limitation of the phase detection technique is its periodic nature, which provides relative range information over a finite ambiguity interval. To extend the operating interval while maintaining a given range resolution, a LADAR sensor using dual modulation frequencies has been developed. The modulation frequency values can be scaled to meet the resolution and range interval requirements of different applications. Results from the miniature NASA sensor illustrate the advantages of the dual-frequency operation and the ability to provide the range images of 640 by 480 pixels at 30 frames per second.

Paper Details

Date Published: 5 September 2000
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 4035, Laser Radar Technology and Applications V, (5 September 2000); doi: 10.1117/12.397801
Show Author Affiliations
Colin L. Smithpeter, Sandia National Labs. (United States)
Robert O. Nellums, Sandia National Labs. (United States)
Steve M. Lebien, Sandia National Labs. (United States)
George Studor, NASA Johnson Space Ctr. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4035:
Laser Radar Technology and Applications V
Gary W. Kamerman; Upendra N. Singh; Christian Werner; Vasyl V. Molebny, Editor(s)

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