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Linear operating region in the ozone dial photon counting systemOzone is a relatively unstable molecule found in Earth's atmosphere. An ozone molecule is made up of three atoms of oxygen. Depending on where ozone resides, it can protect or harm life on Earth. High in the atmosphere, about 15 miles up, ozone acts as a shield to protect Earth's surface from the sun's harmful ultraviolet radiation. Without this shield, we would be more susceptible to skin cancer, cataracts, and impaired immune systems. Closer to Earth, in the air we breathe, ozone is a harmful pollutant that causes damage to lung tissue and plants. Since the early 1980's, airborne lidar systems have been used for making measurements of ozone. The differential absorption lidar (DIAL) technique is used in the remote measurement of O3. This system allows the O3 to be measured as function of the range in the atmosphere. Two frequency-doubled Nd:YAG lasers are used to pump tunable dye lasers. The lasers are operating at 289 nm for the DIAL on-line wavelength of O3, and the other one is operated at 300 nm for the off-line wavelength. The DIAL wavelengths are produced in sequential laser pulses with a time separation of 300 micro s. The backscattered laser energy is collected by telescopes and measured using photon counting systems. The photon counting system measures the light signal by making use of the photon nature of light. The output pulse from the Photo-Multiplier Tube (PE), caused by a photon striking the PMT photo-cathode, is amplified and passed to a pulse height discriminator. The peak value of the pulse is compared to a reference voltage (discrimination level). If the pulse amplitude exceeds the discrimination level, the discriminator generates a standard pulse which is counted by the digital counter. Non-linearity in the system is caused by the overlapping of pulses and the finite response time of the electronics. At low count rates one expects the system to register one event for each output pulse from the PMT corresponding to a photon incident upon the photocathode, however, at higher rates the limitations of the discrimination/counting system will cause the observed count rate to be non-linear with respect to the true count rate. Depending on the pulse height distribution and the discriminator level, the overlapping of pulses (pulse pile-up) can cause count loss or even an additional apparent count gain as the signal levels increase. Characterization of the system, including the pulse height distribution, the signal to noise ratio, and the effect of the discriminator threshold level, is critical in maximizing the linear operating region of the system, thus greatly increasing the useful dynamic range of the system.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Andrawis, Madeleine
(South Dakota State Univ. Brookings, SD United States)
Date Acquired
August 17, 2013
Publication Date
December 1, 1995
Publication Information
Publication: The 1995 NASA-ODU American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Summer Faculty Fellowship Program
Subject Category
Environment Pollution
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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IDRelationTitle19960020755Analytic PrimaryThe 1995 NASA-ODU American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Summer Faculty Fellowship Program
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