This paper derives the Cramer–Rao bound (CRB) on range separation estimation of two point sources interrogated by a three-dimensional flash laser detection and ranging (LADAR) system. An unbiased range separation estimator is also derived to compare against the bound. Additionally, the CRB can be expressed as a function of two LADAR design parameters (range sampling and transmitted pulse width), which can be selected in order to optimize the expected range resolution between two point sources. Given several range sampling capabilities, the CRB and simulation show agreement that there is an optimal pulse width where a shorter pulse width would increase estimation variance due to undersampling of the pulse and a longer pulse width would degrade the resolving capability. Finally, the optimal pulse-width concept is extended to more complex targets and a normalized pulse definition.
© 2011 Optical Society of America
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