Extending the reach of LIDAR

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Science  07 May 2021:
Vol. 372, Issue 6542, pp. 585-586
DOI: 10.1126/science.372.6542.585-g

Light detection and ranging (LIDAR) is an invaluable tool used in remote sensing to map out the detailed three-dimensional features of terrain. Based on time-of-flight measurements of emitted, reflected, and detected single photons, the geographic scenery can be computationally reconstructed with high resolution. Photon scattering, high background noise, and losses in the atmosphere typically limit the range of the technique to a few tens of kilometers. Li et al. developed high-efficiency optical components and an efficient noise-suppression method to extend the range of LIDAR to more than 200 kilometers. Such a long reach could be used to complement traditional imaging techniques for remote-sensing applications with low-Earth-orbit satellites.

Optica 8, 344 (2021).

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