Abstract

A new calibration technique for continuous-wave Doppler lidars that uses an aerosol scattering target has been developed. Calibrations with both single- and many-particle scattering were performed at the same lidar operating conditions as in atmospheric measurements. The calibrating targets, simulating atmospheric aerosols, were laboratory-generated spherical silicone oil droplets with known complex refractive indices and sizes, hence with known single-particle backscatter cross sections as obtained from Mie theory. Measurements of lidar efficiency with the conventional hard target calibration method were consistently higher by a factor of ~2 than measurements with the aerosol calibration technique. This result may have important implications for lidar backscatter estimates both for aerosol modeling efforts and for optimal design of future lidar systems. The aerosol calibration method provides a validation of basic lidar theory for particle scattering for coherent detection.

© 1996 Optical Society of America

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