Development of a LIDAR Echo Emulator system


The Innovation and Optoelectronic area has developed a LIDAR Echo Emulator system.

LIDAR is the acronym of LIght Detection And Ranging. A LIDAR uses a laser pulse that is sent to a target for measuring its reflections. The simplest application is to measure the distance to the target by measuring the time needed for the laser pulse to return. The use of two lasers, one of them tuned to the absorption line of a gas and the other to a non-absorption region allows to measure gas concentration along the laser path.

A LIDAR can also be used for wind speed measuring, for autonomous driving and for many other applications. The intensity of the reflections can be extremely low, especially when the LIDAR is measuring from a satellite. The photodiodes used for this detection need to be validated with a well-controlled faint laser pulse. The LIDAR Echo Emulator developed by ALTER uses two laser sources powered with an AWG (Arbitrary Waveform Generator) that can be shaped to emulate these extremely faint echoes measured by a LIDAR system. The possibility of shaping the light pulses allows simulating different targets such as vegetation, clouds, ground or absorption of gases.