New generation lidar systems for eye safe full time observationsThe traditional lidar over the last thirty years has typically been a big pulse low repetition rate system. Pulse energies are in the 0.1 to 1.0 J range and repetition rates from 0.1 to 10 Hz. While such systems have proven to be good research tools, they have a number of limitations that prevent them from moving beyond lidar research to operational, application oriented instruments. These problems include a lack of eye safety, very low efficiency, poor reliability, lack of ruggedness and high development and operating costs. Recent advances in solid state laser, detectors and data systems have enabled the development of a new generation of lidar technology that meets the need for routine, application oriented instruments. In this paper the new approaches to operational lidar systems will be discussed. Micro pulse lidar (MPL) systems are currently in use, and their technology is highlighted. The basis and current development of continuous wave (CW) lidar and potential of other technical approaches is presented.
Spinhirne, James D. (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD United States)