Abstract

We discuss the development of a frequency-agile receiver for CO2 laser-based differential absorption lidar (DIAL) systems. The receiver is based on the insertion of a low-order tunable etalon into the detector field of view. The incorporation of the etalon into the receiver reduces system noise by decreasing the instantaneous spectral bandwidth of the IR detector to a narrow wavelength range centered on the transmitted CO2 laser line, thereby improving the overall D* of the detection system. A consideration of overall lidar system performance results in a projected factor of a 2–7 reduction in detector system noise, depending on the characteristics of the environment being probed. These improvements can play a key role in extending the ability of DIAL systems to monitor chemical releases from long standoff distances.

© 1998 Optical Society of America

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