Investigation of a resonance Lidar for measurement of thermospheric metastable helium

Andrew Gerrard, Timothy J. Kane, David D. Meisel, Jeffrey P. Thayer, Robert B. Kerr

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25 Scopus citations


Expected signal returns for a ground-based resonance Lidar system used for profiling metastable thermospheric helium are presented, scaleable to specific system configurations. The signal estimate is dependent on the calculation of the effective backscatter cross-section for the He 10 830 Å resonant transition as well as an estimate of thermospheric metastable helium densities obtained from a recent model. The peak backscatter cross-section is found to be 2.7( ± 0.3) × 10-16 m2 with an effective backscatter cross-section (assuming a 1 GHz rms laser linewidth centered at a wavelength of 10 830.32 Å) of 2.6(±0.3) × 10-16 m2. Measurements using the metastable He 3188 Å and 3889 Å lines are evaluated. Challenges in experimental design (i.e., laser characteristics, near infrared single photon detection, and background noise), as well as potential operation from a space-borne platform, are also discussed. With current technology, profiles with relatively high temporal and vertical resolution are shown to be attainable under twilight conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2023-2035
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics
Issue number16
StatePublished - Nov 1997

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Space and Planetary Science


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