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Proceedings Paper

Raman-shifted eye-safe aerosol lidar (REAL) in 2010: instrument status and two-component wind measurements
Author(s): Shane D. Mayor
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Paper Abstract

This paper and corresponding seminar given on 20 September 2010 at the 16th International School for Quantum Electronics in Nesebar, Bulgaria, will describe the key hardware aspects of the Raman-shifted Eye-safe Aerosol Lidar (REAL) and recent advances in extracting two-component wind vector fields from the images it produces. The REAL is an eye-safe, ground-based, scanning, elastic aerosol backscatter lidar operating at 1.54 microns wavelength. Operation at this wavelength offers several advantages compared to other laser wavelengths including: (1) maximum eye-safety, (2) invisible beam, (3) superior performance photodetectors compared with those used at longer wavelengths, (4) low atmospheric molecular scattering when compared with operation at shorter wavelengths, (5) good aerosol backscattering, (6) atmospheric transparency, and (7) availability of optical and photonic components used in the modern telecommunations industry. A key issue for creating a high-performance direct-detection lidar at 1.5 microns is the use of InGaAs avalanche photodetectors that have active areas of at most 200 microns in diameter. The small active area imposes a maximum limitation on the field-of-view of the receiver (about 0.54 mrad full-angle for REAL). As a result, a key requirement is a transmitter that can produce a pulsed (>10 Hz) beam with low divergence (<0.25 mrad full-angle), high pulse-energy (>150 mJ), and short pulse-duration (<10 ns). The REAL achieves this by use of a commercially-available flashlamp-pumped Nd:YAG laser and a custom high-pressure methane gas cell for wavelength shifting via stimulated Raman scattering. The atmospheric aerosol features in the images that REAL produces can be tracked to infer horizontal wind vectors. The method of tracking macroscopic aerosol features has an advantage over Doppler lidars in that two components of motion can be sensed. (Doppler lidars can sense only the radial component of flow.) Two-component velocity estimation is done by computing two-dimensional cross-correlation functions (CCFs) and noting the displacement of the peak of the CCF with respect to the origin. Motion vectors derived from this method are compared with coincident sonic anemometer measurements at 1.6 km range. Preliminary results indicate the method performs best when the atmosphere is stable with light winds.

Paper Details

Date Published: 18 January 2011
PDF: 13 pages
Proc. SPIE 7747, 16th International School on Quantum Electronics: Laser Physics and Applications, 77470P (18 January 2011); doi: 10.1117/12.883454
Show Author Affiliations
Shane D. Mayor, California State Univ., Chico (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7747:
16th International School on Quantum Electronics: Laser Physics and Applications
Tanja Dreischuh; Dimitar Slavov, Editor(s)

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