Sensitive and accurate dual-wavelength UV-VIS polarization detector for optical remote sensing of tropospheric aerosols

G. David, A. Miffre, B. Thomas, P. Rairoux

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


An UV-VIS polarization lidar has been designed and specified for monitoring aerosols in the troposphere, showing the ability to precisely address low particle depolarization ratios, in the range of a few percent. Non-spherical particle backscattering coefficients as low as 5×10 -8 m -1 have been measured and the particle depolarization ratio detection limit is 0.6 %. This achievement is based on a well-designed detector with laser-specified optical components (polarizers, dichroic beamsplitters) summarized in a synthetic detector transfer matrix. Hence, systematic biases are drastically minimized. The detector matrix being diagonal, robust polarization calibration has been achieved under real atmospheric conditions. This UV-VIS polarization detector measures particle depolarization ratios over two orders of magnitude, from 0.6 up to 40 %, which is new, especially in the UV where molecular scattering is strong. Hence, a calibrated UV-VIS polarization-resolved time-altitude map is proposed for urban and free tropospheric aerosols up to altitude of 4 kilometers, which is also new. These sensitive and accurate UV-VIS polarization-resolved measurements enhance the spatial and time evolution of non-spherical tropospheric particles, even in urban polluted areas. This study shows the capability of polarization-resolved laser UV-VIS spectroscopy to specifically address the light backscattering by spherical and non-spherical tropospheric aerosols.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)197-216
Number of pages20
JournalApplied Physics B: Lasers and Optics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2012
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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