Practical lidar applications require an easy to operate compact system. Random-modulation continuous-wave (RM-CW) lidar enables us to use a cw laser with a power level of several tens of milliwatts as the light source. For this purpose, the diode laser is the most suitable candidate for a compact lidar system. Here we report construction of the first practical portable diode-laser RM-CW lidar system and its measurement of the spatial aerosol profile at nighttime. The low-level cw power and the current operational wavelength (780 nm) make the RM-CW lidar completely eye-safe by ANSI standards.
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