Light Detection And Ranging

Light Detection And Ranging

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LIDAR, stands for Light Detection And Ranging, is an active optical remote sensing instrument. It is an innovative technique that uses laser for probing the planetary atmosphere [1, 2, and 3]. Atmospheric LIDARs use narrow pulsed lasers. Flash-lamp pumping is generally employed in generation of Q-switched lasers. Flash-lamp pumped (FLP) systems produce lasers at low repetition rate with high pulse energies. Several problems such as limited life-time of flash-lamp and requirement of pump motors for driving deionised (DI) water to cool the laser cavities limit the applications of FLP systems in strategic fields. Recent technologies employ semiconductor diodes as pump sources for solid-state lasing materials. These units built-in with accousto-optic modulator (AOM) produce pulse modulation in laser at high repetition rates. Diode pumped solid-state (DPSS) lasers offer several advantages over conventional FLP types. DPSS lasers generate radiations in Infrared (IR), visible and ultraviolet (UV) spectral bands. The commercially available DPSS lasers offer features as high pulse repetition rate, excellent beam profile, compact size, narrow pulsing, good spectral purity, long-life and stable output. Moreover, DPSS lasers operate with air cooling.
Recently LIDARs were employed with Q-switched DPSS lasers for atmospheric investigations. Micro pulse LIDAR [MPL] is a version of DPSS laser based new generation LIDAR technology. In recent years, MPLs have become increasingly popular owing to their unattended operation and more suitable for long-term measurement of atmospheric parameters [4]. The MPL uses high repetition rate, low pulse energy lasers for atmospheric investigations [5].
The MPL technology was successful globally and have been used in the studies of high altitude clouds [6], atmospheric aerosol [7], slow air motion [ 8], aerosol extinction [9], global monitoring of aerosols and clouds [10], boundary layer aerosol [11], internal boundary layer [12, 13], horizontal visibility [14], low humidity layer [15], multilayer clouds [16], aerosol studies in traffic [17] and also in airborne studies [18].
In India, recently a portable LIDAR [19, 20] was successfully demonstrated at National Atmospheric Research Laboratory (NARL) for atmospheric studies. The NARL is a Department of Space (DOS) unit operates several LIDAR instruments for atmospheric studies [21, 22, 23, and 24]. The portable LIDAR uses micro pulse operation and was developed under boundary layer LIDAR (BLL) project. The BLL was a popular LIDAR technology in India caused by “its” low-cost design and numerous applications in the scientific field. The BLL was constructed with several innovative features and was filed for intellectual property rights under ISRO in the year 2009 [25].

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