New Technologies for Submillimeter Laser Ranging


Article Preview

We are presenting the work progress and recent results in a development and construction of new technologies for submillimeter laser ranging and picosecond accuracy laser time transfer. The key hardware components: the Start detector and discriminator, the echo signal detector, the timing device and signal cablings were studied in detail. The new devices have been designed, built and tested in our lab. To minimize the systematic errors the photon counting approach has been selected. The ranging chain has been designed and optimized with a goal of single shot resolution of several millimeters and sub-millimeter normal points and overall system stability. The Start detector and discriminator are constructed as a single device to optimize their matching and maintain stability. The NPET timing system based on surface acoustic wave interpolator has a resolution of 800 fs and 4 fs long term stability. The echo detector is based on innovated SPAD detector optimized for high repetition Gate rate and minimal dark count rate. Both the detectors output signals have ultrafast slew rates < 200 ps / 1 V. In connection to the 6 GHz bandwidth of the timing system inputs these fast slew rates improves the timing and temperature stability along with the RF interference immunity. The new low temperature drift signal cables have been selected, tested and used. The new hardware was tested in indoor calibration experiments. We have achieved the single shot resolution of 3 mm rms. The temperature and temporal stability of the individual components is excellent. The drift is typically below 200 fs/K for each contributor. The overall temperature drift of the entire laser ranging chain is below 500 fs/ K. The long term stability of the ground target calibration is better than ± 800 fs within 3 days. During this period the environment temperature changed by more than 4°C. In the sense of time deviation Tdev the stability of 300 fs was achieved. The presented components will enable to carry out laser ranging with submillimeter normal points stability and reproducibility. The accuracy of the “ranging machine” based on these devices will reach sub-mm values, as well. The concept and construction will be presented along with the achieved devices parameters.



Advanced Materials Research (Volumes 301-303)

Edited by:

Riza Esa and Yanwen Wu




J. Blazej et al., "New Technologies for Submillimeter Laser Ranging", Advanced Materials Research, Vols. 301-303, pp. 397-401, 2011

Online since:

July 2011




[1] M. R. Pearlman, J. J. Degnan, and J. M. Bosworth: Advances in Space Res., Vol. 30 (2002), p.135.

[2] U. K. Schreiber, et al.: IEEE Transactions on Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics and Frequency Control, Vol. 57 (2010), p.728.

[3] P. Panek, U.S. Patent 7, 057, 978 B2. (2006).

[4] P. Panek: IEEE Trans. Instrum. Meas., Vol. 57 (2008), p.2582.

[5] I. Prochazka, et al.: Institute of Physics Conference Series, Vol. 126 (1991), p.147.

[6] G. Kirchner, et al., in: Laser Radar Ranging and Atmospheric Lidar Techniques, edited by U. Schreiber, volume 3218 of Proceedings of SPIE, SPIE (1997), p.106.

[7] J. Blazej, in: Proceedings of 12th International Workshop on Laser Ranging, ed. by G. Bianco, Agenzia Spaziale Italiana (2000).

[8] P. Panek, and I. Prochazka: Review of Sci. Instr., Vol. 78 (2007), p.78.

[9] L. Kral, et al., in: Laser Radar Technology for Remote Sensing, edited by Ch. Werner, volume 5240 of Proceedings of SPIE, SPIE (2004), p.26.