Proceedings PaperIntegration Of A CO2 Laser Range Finder With A Thermal Imager
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The task to observe a thermal scene and to measure its range traditionally requires two devices: - a thermal imager (TI) and - a CO2 laser range-finder (LRF) Simple investigations concerning these two systems exhibit a remarkable degree of commonality between both systems. The thermal imager as well as the CO2 laser range-finder receiver consist of an IR optics, an IR detector and normally a cooling engine. For a couple of years it has been the idea to combine (at least) some of the components of both systems. Looking closer at this idea, there are three areas of special concern: - there is a mismatch between the "instantaneous fields of view (F0V)" of the thermal imaging detector and the laser range finding detector by a factor of about 5 (linear) - due to the scanning inherent in thermal imagers there arises the problem of image motion during the time of flight of the laser pulse - the time constant of the detector of the widely used (US-) Common Module System Thermal Imagers is by far too slow to receive laser pulse radiation undistortedly. Electronic means to overcome this limitation are essential. The following discussion gives some details how to resolve the above mentioned difficulties. Compromises are necessary to overcome these problems.