Abstract

A new principle of lidar-radar is theoretically and experimentally investigated. The proposed architecture is based on the use of an rf modulation of the emitted light beam and a direct detection of the backscattered intensity. Use of a radar-processing chain allows one to obtain range and Doppler measurements with the advantages of lidar spatial resolution. We calculate the maximum range of this device, taking into account different possible improvements. In particular, we show that use of a pulsed two-frequency laser and a spatially multimode optical preamplification of the backscattered light leads to calculated ranges larger than 20 km, including the possibility of both range and Doppler measurements. The building blocks of this lidar-radar are tested experimentally: The radar processing of an rf-modulated backscattered cw laser beam is demonstrated at 532 nm, illustrating the Doppler and identification capabilities of the system. In addition, signal-to-noise ratio improvement by optical preamplification is demonstrated at 1.06 µm. Finally, a two-frequency passively Q-switched Nd:YAG laser is developed. This laser then permits two-frequency pulses with tunable pulse duration (from 18 to 240 ns) and beat frequency (from 0 to 2.65 GHz) to be obtained.

© 2002 Optical Society of America

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