A maximum-likelihood estimator used to determine boresight and jitter performance of a laser pointing system has been derived. The estimator is based on a Gaussian jitter model and uses a Gaussian far-field irradiance profile. The estimates are obtained using a set of return shots from the intended target. An experimental setup with a He–Ne laser and steering mirrors is used to study the performance of the proposed method. Both Monte Carlo simulations and experimental results demonstrate excellent performance of the estimator. Our study shows that boresight estimation is more challenging than jitter estimation when both quantities are estimated. Furthermore, their estimation performance improves with an increase in the number of shots. The experimental results are found to agree well with the simulation results.
© 2006 Optical Society of America
(030.6600) Coherence and statistical optics : Statistical optics
(120.5630) Instrumentation, measurement, and metrology : Radiometry
(140.0140) Lasers and laser optics : Lasers and laser optics
Original Manuscript: May 2, 2005
Manuscript Accepted: November 3, 2005
Deva K. Borah, David Voelz, and Santasri Basu, "Maximum-likelihood estimation of a laser system pointing parameters by use of return photon counts," Appl. Opt. 45, 2504-2509 (2006)