We investigate the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) for a bistatic coherent laser radar (CLR) system. With a bistatic configuration, the spatial resolution is determined by the overlap of the transmit beam and the virtual backpropagated local oscillator beam. This eliminates the trade-off between range resolution and the bandwidth of the transmitted pulse inherent in monostatic systems. The presented analysis is completely general in that the expressions can be applied to both monostatic and bistatic CLR systems. The heterodyne SNR is computed under the assumption of untruncated Gaussian optics and untruncated Gaussian beam profiles. The analysis also includes the effects of refractive turbulence. The results show that, for maximum SNR, small transmit and local oscillator beam profiles (<i>e</i><sup>−1</sup> intensity radius) are desired.
© 2002 Optical Society of America
(010.1300) Atmospheric and oceanic optics : Atmospheric propagation
(010.3640) Atmospheric and oceanic optics : Lidar
(280.3640) Remote sensing and sensors : Lidar
(290.4020) Scattering : Mie theory
Eric P. Magee and Timothy J. Kane, "Bistatic Coherent Laser Radar Signal-to-Noise Ratio," Appl. Opt. 41, 1768-1779 (2002)