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Lidar Applications

Light detection and ranging (LIDAR) systems use reflected laser signals to determine an objects position and its characteristics. In its simplest form LIDAR uses “time of flight”, the time it takes for a laser signal to reach and return from an object, to accurately measure distances. However, LIDAR systems can also examine other properties of the reflected light, such as its frequency content or polarization, to reveal additional information about the object. As such, LIDAR systems are now being developed and employed in an ever expanding number of application areas such as autonomous driving and vehicle tracking, geological and geographical mapping, seismology, meteorology, atmospheric physics, surveillance, altimetry, forestry, navigation, and even environmental protection.

Each LIDAR system is typically designed and optimized for a specific application making the selection of appropriate signal sources, sensors and acquisition electronics critical to its overall performance. Spectrum can play a key role, with the company’s high-resolution digitizer products offering a wide choice of sampling rates that can best match almost any LIDAR sensor. The digitizers feature wide dynamic range and built-in low noise amplification so that they can detect and analyze the wide variety of signals that are normally encountered. Other features such as Multiple and Gated acquisition modes are also available to handle situations were fast trigger rates may be encountered. Furthermore, the digitizers offer the ability to stream acquired data, at very high transfer rates, directly to PC’s or GPU’s for applications that require advanced or complex signal processing..

Spectrum Product Features

  • Sampling Rates from 20 MS/s to 5 GS/s
  • Bandwidth up to 1.5 GHz
  • Very low noise with excellent SNR and SFDR
  • Segmented Memory with FIFO Readout
  • Ultrafast signal averaging
  • SCAPP support for direct data transfer to GPU’s

Matching Card Families

  • M4i.22xx: 8 bit 5 GS/s to 1.25 GS/s digitizer
  • M4i.44xx: 14/16 bit 500 MS/s to 130 MS/s digitizer
  • M2p.59xx: 16 bit 20 MS/s to 125 MS/s digitizer

Related Documents

Application Note: LIDAR - Light Detection and Ranging

The development of laser technology over 50 years ago led to the creation of light detection and ranging (LIDAR) systems that delivered a breakthrough in the way distances are calculated. The principles of LIDAR are much the same as those used by radar.


Case Study: DIAL - Differential Absorption LIDAR

Industrialization in the modern world has become the primary cause of environmental atmospheric pollution. As such, the study of industrial pollution, and its various components, has become a major area of importance. For example, in China the Ministry of Environmental Protection has stipulated the monitoring of atmospheric levels for sulfur dioxide (SO2) and oxides of nitrogen (NOx), which are the common dangerous emissions found near industrial zones.


Case Study: Spectrum Instrumentation Digitizers and AWG used for Atmospheric research with LIDAR at Leibniz Institute

Atmospheric research uses pulsed laser beams to measure temperature and wind speed along the beams by measuring the Doppler shifted and backscattered light at 100 km height in the atmosphere. The returning light signals are very weak and can be blocked by sunlight, but The Leibniz Institute for Atmospheric Physics (IAP) has solved this problem: they developed the world?s only portable instrument that can be used during the daytime and it has already provided new insights into Antarctic atmospheric conditions. This new generation of compact and reliable systems uses a novel, diode-pumped laser and, at its heart, are a Spectrum Instrumentation Arbitrary Waveform Generator (AWG) and two Digitizers that provide the extremely high speed, sensitivity and real-time capability required.


Useful Links

  • At the State Key Laboratory of Precision Measurement Technology and Instruments, Tianjin University, China, they are using an M2p.5961-x4 125 MS/s, 16 bit Digitizer to simultaneously measure velocity and distance using a Frequency Modulated Continuous Wave (FMCW) lidar system. The system details and experimental results are discussed here

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