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Proceedings Paper

Inflight performance of a second-generation photon-counting 3D imaging lidar
Author(s): John Degnan; Roman Machan; Ed Leventhal; David Lawrence; Gabriel Jodor; Christopher Field
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Paper Abstract

Sigma Space Corporation has recently developed a compact 3D imaging and polarimetric lidar suitable for use in a small aircraft or mini-UAV. A frequency-doubled Nd:YAG microchip laser generates 6 microjoule, subnanosecond pulses at fire rates up to 22 kHz. A Diffractive Optical Element (DOE) breaks the 532 nm beam into a 10x10 array of Gaussian beamlets, each containing about 1 mW of laser power (50 nJ @ 20 kHz). The reflected radiation in each beamlet is imaged by the receive optics onto individual pixels of a high efficiency, 10x10 pixel, multistop detector. Each pixel is then input to one channel of a 100 channel, multistop timer demonstrated to have a 93 picosecond timing (1.4 cm range) resolution and an event recovery time of only 1.6 nsec. Thus, each green laser pulse produces a 100 pixel volumetric 3D image. The residual infrared energy at 1064 nm is used for polarimetry. The scan pattern and frequency of a dual wedge optical scanner, synchronized to the laser fire rate, are tailored to provide contiguous coverage of a ground scene in a single overflight. In both rooftop and preliminary flight tests, the lidar has produced high spatial resolution 3D images of terrain, buildings, tree structures, power lines, and bridges with a data acquisition rate up to 2.2 million multistop 3D pixels per second. Current tests are aimed at defining the lidar's ability to image through water columns and tree canopies.

Paper Details

Date Published: 14 May 2008
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 6950, Laser Radar Technology and Applications XIII, 695007 (14 May 2008); doi: 10.1117/12.784759
Show Author Affiliations
John Degnan, Sigma Space Corp. (United States)
Roman Machan, Sigma Space Corp. (United States)
Ed Leventhal, Sigma Space Corp. (United States)
David Lawrence, Sigma Space Corp. (United States)
Gabriel Jodor, Sigma Space Corp. (United States)
Christopher Field, Sigma Space Corp. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6950:
Laser Radar Technology and Applications XIII
Monte D. Turner; Gary W. Kamerman, Editor(s)

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