Abstract

Laser remote sensing involves the measurement of laser-beam transmission through the atmosphere and is subject to uncertainties caused by strong fluctuations due primarily to speckle, glint, and atmospheric-turbulence effects. These uncertainties are generally reduced by taking average values of increasing numbers of measurements. An experiment was carried out to directly measure the effect of signal averaging on backscattered laser return signals from a diffusely reflecting target using a direct-detection differential-absorption lidar (DIAL) system. The improvement in accuracy obtained by averaging over increasing numbers of data points was found to be smaller than that predicted for independent measurements. The experimental results are shown to be in excellent agreement with a theoretical analysis which considers the effect of temporal correlation. The analysis indicates that small but long-term temporal correlation severely limits the improvement available through signal averaging.

© 1982 Optical Society of America

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