Abstract

A technique is proposed for remote sensing of atomic oxygen by laser excitation of a two-photon transition. Excitation at 2256 Å and subsequent fluorescence at 8447 Å allow probing of the mesosphere and lower thermosphere without interference by absorption. The two-photon excitation rate is calculated, and its dependence on laser power, duration, and linewidth is discussed. Values are given for remote sensing from a spacecraft at 200 km ranging down to 80 km with 1-km range resolution. Accuracies of better than 10% are expected with a 1 J, a 20-psec excitation pulse, and a 1-m2 collecting telescope.

© 1979 Optical Society of America

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