Abstract

Atmospheric lidar is difficult in daylight because of sunlight scattered into the receiver field of view. In this research methods for the design and performance analysis of Fabry–Perot etalons as solar background filters are presented. The factor by which the signal to background ratio is enhanced is defined as a measure of the performance of the etalon as a filter. Equations for evaluating this parameter are presented for single-, double-, and triple-etalon filter systems. The role of reflective coupling between etalons is examined and shown to substantially reduce the contributions of the second and third etalons to the filter performance. Attenuators placed between the etalons can improve the filter performance, at modest cost to the signal transmittance. The principal parameter governing the performance of the etalon filters is the etalon defect finesse. Practical limitations on etalon plate smoothness and parallelism cause the defect finesse to be relatively low, especially in the ultraviolet, and this sets upper limits to the capability of tandem etalon filters to suppress the solar background at tolerable cost to the signal.

© 1999 Optical Society of America

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