Airborne laser systems for atmospheric sounding in the near infrared

Roberto Sabatini, Mark A. Richardson, Huamin Jia, David Zammit-Mangion

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

23 Scopus citations


This paper presents new techniques for atmospheric sounding using different laser sources, direct detection electro-optics and passive infrared imaging systems. These techniques allow a direct determination of atmospheric extinction and, through the adoption of suitable inversion algorithms, the indirect measurement of some important natural and manmade atmospheric constituents, including Carbon Dioxide (CO2). The proposed techniques are suitable for remote sensing missions performed by using aircraft, satellites, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), parachute/gliding vehicles, Roving Surface Vehicles (RSV), or Permanent Surface Installations (PSI). The various techniques proposed offer relative advantages in different scenarios. All are based on measurements of the laser energy/power incident on target surfaces of known geometric and reflective characteristics, by means of infrared detectors and/or infrared cameras calibrated for radiance. Experimental results are presented relative to ground and flight trials performed with laser systems operating in the near infrared (NIR) at λ = 1064 nm and λ = 1550 nm. This includes ground tests performed with 10 Hz and 20 KHz PRF NIR laser systems in a variety of atmospheric conditions, and flight trials performed with a 10 Hz airborne NIR laser system installed on a TORNADO aircraft, flying up to altitudes of 22,000 ft above ground level. Future activities are planned to validate the atmospheric retrieval algorithms developed for CO2 column density measurements, with emphasis on aircraft related emissions at airports and other high air-traffic density environments.

Original languageBritish English
Title of host publicationOptical Sensing and Detection II
ISBN (Print)9780819491312
StatePublished - 2012
EventOptical Sensing and Detection II - Brussels, Belgium
Duration: 16 Apr 201219 Apr 2012

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


ConferenceOptical Sensing and Detection II


  • Airborne lasers
  • Atmospheric sounding
  • Carbon dioxide
  • Green aircraft operations


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