A small scanning three-wavelength lidar system at NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, has been used since 1992 to make atmospheric measurements on stratospheric and upper tropospheric aerosols and on the evolution of aircraft exhaust plumes. Many of these measurements have been made away from the zenith, and, to reduce the hazard to air traffic produced by the laser beam, a radar safety device has been installed. The radar application is original in that the radar beam is made collinear with the laser beam by use of a dichroic mirror that transmits the laser radiation and reflects the microwaves. This mirror is inserted into the outgoing optical path prior to the radiation from both the radar and the laser passing through the independent scanning unit. Tests of the complete system show that the lidar and radar beams remain collocated as they are scanned and that the radar can be used to inhibit the laser prior to an aircraft passing through the beam.
© 1999 Optical Society of AmericaFull Article | PDF Article
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