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Proceedings Paper

Laser radar detection statistics: a comparison of coherent and direct-detection receivers
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Paper Abstract

Detection statistics for a coherent laser radar are substantially different from those of a direct detection laser radar. Direct detection ladar detection statistics vary depending upon the detection mode. Speckle noise also impacts the detection statistics. For a single-pixel single- frequency single-polarization coherent detection transceiver, speckle noise can only be suppressed through temporal averaging. Some degree of speckle averaging can also be achieved in coherent detection systems by using a multiple frequencies or dual polarizations. In addition to these, a direct detection receiver can exploit spatial diversity to suppress the effects of speckle. This paper develops example performance comparisons. We show that a photon-counting direct detection receiver can exploit spatial diversity to suppress the effects of speckle. This paper develops theory useful for describing the performance of these three receiver architectures against diffuse and glint targets and provides example performance comparisons. We show that a photon-counting direct detection receiver can, in principle, provide superior performance, however practical limitations of current detection technology particularly in the near IR spectral region reduces the performance margin and for many applications a coherent detection receiver provides superior performance.

Paper Details

Date Published: 19 September 2001
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 4377, Laser Radar Technology and Applications VI, (19 September 2001); doi: 10.1117/12.440113
Show Author Affiliations
Philip Gatt, Coherent Technologies, Inc. (United States)
Sammy W. Henderson, Coherent Technologies, Inc. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4377:
Laser Radar Technology and Applications VI
Gary W. Kamerman, Editor(s)

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