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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Single Photon Counting Lidar Techniques and Instrumentation for Geoscience Applications
by Barton-Grimley, Rory Alistair, Ph.D., University of Colorado at Boulder, 2019, 265; 22589968
Abstract (Summary)

The recent 2017 Earth Science Decadal Survey explicitly calls for a multi-functional lidar instrument that can address combined atmospheric, topographic, and bathymetric needs. A wide breadth of measurements are achievable with photon counting lidar sensors, establishing them as multi-functional in their ability to observe a variety of phenomena and properties with a single instrument. However, the desire to observe dynamic targets at high resolution often introduces stringent spatial and temporal requirements that cannot be met due to the prescribed nature of most photon counting techniques. The advent of advanced single photon counting lidar (SPL) sensors, utilizing time-correlated single photon counting techniques (TCSPC), addresses these difficulties while also displaying novel applicability to a number of diverse geophysical observations, allowing operation in a wide-range of regimes with several simultaneous scientific objectives. This thesis explores point cloud generation and the statistical implications on data retrievals utilizing the TCSPC approach, through ground based and airborne demonstrations. A dual-polarization SPL sensor was flown on the NSF/NCAR GV research aircraft, where the techniques and instrumentation developed were applied to atmospheric, topographic, and bathymetric retrievals. The results proved the viability and applicability of the TCSPC approach to multi-functional lidar sensor development. The published results show an ability to preserve backscattered intensity while generating photon detections at picosecond resolution from a variety of scatterers, atmospheric and hard target. They also show that utilization of the TCPSC approach for estimating backscattered intensity requires special attention to mitigate biases and non-linear distortions typically not seen in traditional sensors. The work culminated within this thesis describes the amalgamation of hardware development and model advancement, allowing testing and validation of SPL measurements while also demonstrating their applicability to geophysical parameter estimation.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Thayer, Jeffrey P., Nehrir, Amin R.
Commitee: Marshall, Robert, Wagner, Kelvin, Palo, Scott
School: University of Colorado at Boulder
Department: Aerospace Engineering
School Location: United States -- Colorado
Source: DAI-B 81/3(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Applied physics, Statistical physics, Electrical engineering
Keywords: Earth science, Geoscience, Lidar, Photon counting, Single photon, TCSPC
Publication Number: 22589968
ISBN: 9781088375266
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