Abstract

An optimal algorithm for detecting a target using a ladar system employing Geiger-mode avalanche photodiodes (GAPDs) is presented. The algorithm applies to any scenario where a ranging direct detection ladar is used to determine the presence of a target against a sky background within a specified range window. A complete statistical model of the detectionprocess for GAPDs is presented, including GAPDs that are inactive for a fixed period of time each time they fire. The model is used to develop a constant false alarm rate detection algorithm that minimizes acquisition time. Numerical performance predictions, simulation results, and experimental results are presented.

© 2008 Optical Society of America

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