The application of time-correlated single photon counting hardware and techniques to atmospheric lidar is presented. The results establish the viability of adapting photon time-tagging techniques to atmospheric lidar systems, facilitating high-range resolution (millimeter-level precision) and dynamic system observing capabilities that address the variety of atmospheric scatterers often present in atmospheric lidar profiles. The technique is demonstrated through measurements made by a high repetition rate, low pulse energy, elastic scattering, photon counting lidar. Detection probabilities with a non-zero system dead-time are derived and tested using acquired data. Atmospheric point cloud generation and the statistical implications on data retrievals utilizing this approach are presented. The results show an ability to preserve backscattered intensities while generating photon detections at picosecond resolution from a variety atmospheric scatterers.
Barton-Grimley, Rory A; Stillwell, Robert A; and Thayer, Jeffrey P, "High resolution photon time-tagging lidar for atmospheric point cloud generation." (2018). Aerospace Engineering Sciences Faculty Contributions. 29.