OSA's Digital Library

Applied Optics

Applied Optics


  • Editor: Joseph N. Mait
  • Vol. 51, Iss. 2 — Jan. 10, 2012
  • pp: 148–166

Laser-based air data system for aircraft control using Raman and elastic backscatter for the measurement of temperature, density, pressure, moisture, and particle backscatter coefficient

Michael Fraczek, Andreas Behrendt, and Nikolaus Schmitt  »View Author Affiliations

Applied Optics, Vol. 51, Issue 2, pp. 148-166 (2012)

View Full Text Article

Enhanced HTML    Acrobat PDF (1751 KB)

Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Browse by Journal and Year


Lookup Conference Papers

Close Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Article Tools



Flight safety in all weather conditions demands exact and reliable determination of flight-critical air parameters. Air speed, temperature, density, and pressure are essential for aircraft control. Conventional air data systems can be impacted by probe failure caused by mechanical damage from hail, volcanic ash, and icing. While optical air speed measurement methods have been discussed elsewhere, in this paper, a new concept for optically measuring the air temperature, density, pressure, moisture, and particle backscatter is presented, being independent on assumptions on the atmospheric state and eliminating the drawbacks of conventional aircraft probes by providing a different measurement principle. The concept is based on a laser emitting laser pulses into the atmosphere through a window and detecting the signals backscattered from a fixed region just outside the disturbed area of the fuselage flows. With four receiver channels, different spectral portions of the backscattered light are extracted. The measurement principle of air temperature and density is based on extracting two signals out of the rotational Raman (RR) backscatter signal of air molecules. For measuring the water vapor mixing ratio—and thus the density of the moist air—a water vapor Raman channel is included. The fourth channel serves to detect the elastic backscatter signal, which is essential for extending the measurements into clouds. This channel contributes to the detection of aerosols, which is interesting for developing a future volcanic ash warning system for aircraft. Detailed and realistic optimization and performance calculations have been performed based on the parameters of a first prototype of such a measurement system. The impact and correction of systematic error sources, such as solar background at daytime and elastic signal cross talk appearing in optically dense clouds, have been investigated. The results of the simulations show the high potential of the proposed system for reliable operation in different atmospheric conditions. Based on a laser emitting pulses at a wavelength of 532 nm with 200 mJ pulse energy, the expected measurement precisions ( 1 σ statistical uncertainty) are < 0.6 K for temperature, < 0.3 % for density, and < 0.4 % for pressure for the detection of a single laser pulse at a flight altitude of 13,000 m at daytime. The errors will be smaller during nighttime or at lower altitudes. Even in optically very dense clouds with backscatter ratios of 10,000 and RR filters suppressing the elastic backscatter by 6 orders of magnitude, total errors of < 1.4 K , < 0.4 % , and < 0.9 % , are expected, respectively. The calculations show that aerospace accuracy standards will be met with even lower pulse energies of 75 mJ for pressure and 18 mJ for temperature measurements when the backscatter signals of 10 laser pulses are averaged. Using laser sources at 355 nm will lead to a further reduction of the necessary pulse energies by more than a factor of 3.

© 2012 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(010.1310) Atmospheric and oceanic optics : Atmospheric scattering
(280.3640) Remote sensing and sensors : Lidar
(290.5860) Scattering : Scattering, Raman
(280.4788) Remote sensing and sensors : Optical sensing and sensors
(280.5475) Remote sensing and sensors : Pressure measurement
(280.6780) Remote sensing and sensors : Temperature

ToC Category:
Atmospheric and Oceanic Optics

Original Manuscript: January 13, 2011
Revised Manuscript: October 26, 2011
Manuscript Accepted: November 9, 2011
Published: January 9, 2012

Michael Fraczek, Andreas Behrendt, and Nikolaus Schmitt, "Laser-based air data system for aircraft control using Raman and elastic backscatter for the measurement of temperature, density, pressure, moisture, and particle backscatter coefficient," Appl. Opt. 51, 148-166 (2012)

Sort:  Author  |  Year  |  Journal  |  Reset  


  1. I. Moir and A. Seabridge, Civil Avionics Systems (Professional Engineering Publishing, 2003).
  2. N. Cézard, A. Dolfi-Bouteyre, J.-P. Huignard, and P. H. Flamant, “Performance evaluation of a dual fringe-imaging Michelson interferometer for air parameter measurements with a 355 nm Rayleigh–Mie lidar,” Appl. Opt. 48, 2321–2332(2009). [CrossRef]
  3. H. W. Jentink and R. K. Bogue, “Optical air flow measurements for flight tests and flight testing optical flow meters,” NLR-TP-2005-256, Nationaal Lucht- en Ruimtevaartlaboratorium, 2005.
  4. C. B. Watkins, C. J. Richey, J. Peter Tchoryk, G. A. Ritter, M. T. Dehring, P. B. Hays, C. A. Nardell, and R. Urzi, “Molecular optical air data system (MOADS) prototype II,” Proc. SPIE 5412, 10–20 (2004). [CrossRef]
  5. N. P. Schmitt, W. Rehm, T. Pistner, H. Diehl, P. Navé, and G. J. Rabadan, “A340 flight test results of a direct detection onboard UV LIDAR in forward-looking turbulence measurement configuration,” in Proceedings of the 15th Coherent Laser Radar Conference CLRC(Curran Associates Inc., 2009), pp. 173–176.
  6. G. J. Rabadan, N. P. Schmitt, T. Pistner, and W. Rehm, “Airborne lidar for automatic feedforward control of turbulent in-flight phenomena,” J. Aircr. 47, 392–403 (2010). [CrossRef]
  7. NESLIE project, retrieved March2011, http://www.neslie-fp6.org .
  8. DANIELA project, retrieved March2011, http://www.danielaproject.eu .
  9. J. A. Cooney, “Measurement of atmospheric temperature profiles by Raman backscatter,” J. Appl. Meteorol. 11, 108–112 (1972). [CrossRef]
  10. J. Cooney and M. Pina, “Laser radar measurements of atmospheric temperature profiles by use of Raman rotational backscatter,” Appl. Opt. 15, 602–603 (1976). [CrossRef]
  11. G. Vaughan, D. P. Wareing, S. J. Pepler, L. Thomas, and V. Mitev, “Atmospheric temperature measurements made by rotational Raman scattering,” Appl. Opt. 32, 2758–2764 (1993). [CrossRef]
  12. D. Nedeljkovic, A. Hauchecorne, and M. L. Chanin, “Rotational Raman lidar to measure atmospheric temperature from the ground to 30 km,” IEEE Trans. Geosci. Remote Sens. 31, 90–101 (1993). [CrossRef]
  13. Y. F. Arshinov, S. M. Bobrovnikov, V. E. Zuev, and V. M. Mitev, “Atmospheric temperature measurements using a pure rotational Raman lidar,” Appl. Opt. 22, 2984–2990 (1983). [CrossRef]
  14. J. Zeyn, W. Lahmann, and C. Weitkamp, “Remote daytime measurements of tropospheric temperature profiles with a rotational Raman lidar,” Opt. Lett. 21, 1301–1303 (1996). [CrossRef]
  15. Y. Arshinov, S. Bobrovnikov, I. Serikov, A. Ansmann, U. Wandinger, D. Althausen, I. Mattis, and D. Müller, “Daytime operation of a pure rotational Raman lidar by use of a Fabry–Perot interferometer,” Appl. Opt. 44, 3593–3603 (2005). [CrossRef]
  16. A. Behrendt and J. Reichardt, “Atmospheric temperature profiling in the presence of clouds with a pure rotational Raman lidar by use of an interference-filter-based polychromator,” Appl. Opt. 39, 1372–1378 (2000). [CrossRef]
  17. A. Behrendt, T. Nakamura, M. Onishi, R. Baumgart, and T. Tsuda, “Combined Raman lidar for the measurement of atmospheric temperature, water vapor, particle extinction coefficient, and particle backscatter coefficient,” Appl. Opt. 41, 7657–7666 (2002). [CrossRef]
  18. A. Behrendt, T. Nakamura, and T. Tsuda, “Combined temperature lidar for measurements in the troposphere, stratosphere, and mesosphere,” Appl. Opt. 43, 2930–2939 (2004). [CrossRef]
  19. P. Girolamo, R. Marchese, D. N. Whiteman, and B. Demoz, “Rotational Raman lidar measurements of atmospheric temperature in the UV,” Geophys. Res. Lett. 31, L01106 (2004). [CrossRef]
  20. M. Radlach, “A scanning eye-safe rotational Raman lidar in the ultraviolet for measurements of tropospheric temperature fields,” Ph.D. dissertation (University of Hohenheim, 2008).
  21. M. Radlach, A. Behrendt, and V. Wulfmeyer, “Scanning rotational Raman lidar at 355 nm for the measurement of tropospheric temperature fields,” Atmos. Chem. Phys. 8, 159–169 (2008). [CrossRef]
  22. A. Behrendt, “Fernmessung atmosphärischer Temperaturprofile in Wolken mit Rotations-Raman-Lidar,” Ph.D. thesis (University of Hamburg, 2000).
  23. E. V. Browell, S. Ismail, and W. B. Grant, “Differential absorption lidar (DIAL) measurements from air and space,” Appl. Phys. B 67, 399–410 (1998). [CrossRef]
  24. A. T. Young, “Rayleigh scattering,” Appl. Opt. 20, 533–535 (1981). [CrossRef]
  25. A. T. Young and G. W. Kattawar, “Rayleigh-scattering line-profiles,” Appl. Opt. 22, 3668–3670 (1983). [CrossRef]
  26. R. M. Measures, Laser Remote Sensing (Wiley & Sons, 1984).
  27. U. Wandinger, “Raman lidar,” in Lidar: Range-Resolved Optical Remote Sensing of the Atmosphere, C. Weitkamp, ed., Springer Series in Optical Sciences (Springer, 2005), Vol. 102, pp. 241–271.
  28. G. Avila, J. M. Fernandez, G. Tejeda, and S. Montero, “The Raman spectra and cross-sections of H2O, D2O, and HDO in the OH/OD stretching regions,” J. Molec. Spectrosc. 228, 38–65 (2004). [CrossRef]
  29. J. Gelbwachs and M. Birnbaum, “Fluorescence of atmospheric aerosols and lidar implications,” Appl. Opt. 12, 2442–2447 (1973). [CrossRef]
  30. T. Kitada, A. Hori, T. Taira, and T. Kobayashi, “Strange behaviour of the measurement of atmospheric temperature profiles of the rotational Raman lidar,” in Proceedings of the 17th International Laser Radar Conference (National Institute for Environmental Studies, 1994), pp. 567–568.
  31. A. Behrendt, “Temperature measurements with lidar,” in Lidar: Range-Resolved Optical Remote Sensing of the Atmosphere, C. Weitkamp, ed., Springer Series in Optical Sciences (Springer, 2005), Vol. 102, pp. 273–305.
  32. A. Bucholtz, “Rayleigh scattering calculations for the terrestial atmosphere,” Appl. Opt. 34, 2765–2773 (1995). [CrossRef]
  33. M. Fraczek, “Optical air data system for aircraft control based on analyzing Raman- and elastically backscattered laser light,” Ph.D. thesis (University of Hohenheim, in preparation).
  34. A. Buck, “New equations for computing vapor pressure and enhancement factor,” J. Appl. Meteorol. 20, 1527–1532(1981). [CrossRef]
  35. G. Avila, G. Tejeda, J. M. Fernandez, and S. Montero, “The rotational Raman spectra and cross sections of H2O, D2O, and HDO,” J. Molec. Spectrosc. 220, 259–275 (2003). [CrossRef]
  36. J. Gasteiger, S. Gross, V. Freudenthaler, and M. Wiegner, “Volcanic ash from Iceland over Munich: mass concentration retrieved from ground-based remote sensing measurements,” Atmos. Chem. Phys. 11, 2209–2223 (2011). [CrossRef]
  37. H. M. Macleod, Thin-Film Optical Filters, 2nd ed. (Hilger, 1986).
  38. International Civil Aviation Organization, International Standard Atmosphere (ISA), retrieved March2011, http://www.icao.int .
  39. M. Fraczek, A. Behrendt, and N. Schmitt, “Optical air temperature and density measurement system for aircraft using elastic and Raman backscattering of laser light,” Proc. SPIE 7835, 78350D (2010). [CrossRef]
  40. libRadtran publication list, retrieved March2011, http://www.libradtran.org/doku.php?id=publications .
  41. The Engineering Society for Advancing Mobility Land Sea Air and Space, Aerospace Standard AS8002: Air data computer—minimum performance standard, http://standards.sae.org/as8002a/.
  42. BGV B2—Unfallverhütungsvorschrift Laserstrahlung (Berufsgenossenschaft Elektro Textil Feinmechanik, April1, 1988 as amended on January1, 1997 with implementation instructions from October1995 updated edition April2007).
  43. S. Wuttke and G. Seckmeyer, “Spectral radiance and sky luminance in Antarctica: a case study,” Theor. Appl. Climatol. 85, 131–148 (2006). [CrossRef]
  44. J. P. F. Fortuin and H. Kelder, “An ozone climatology based on ozonesonde and satellite measurements,” J. Geophys. Res. 103, 31709–31734 (1998). [CrossRef]
  45. J. Malicet, D. Daumont, J. Charbonnier, C. Parisse, A. Chakir, and J. Brion, “Ozone UV spectroscopy. II. absorption cross-sections and temperature dependence,” J. Atmos. Chem. 21, 263–273 (1995). [CrossRef]
  46. G. G. Gurzadyan, V. G. Dmitriev, and D. N. Nikogosyan, Handbook of Nonlinear Optical Crystals, 3rd ed., Springer Series in Optical Sciences (Springer-Verlag, 1999), Vol. 64.
  47. V. A. Kovalev and W. E. Eichinger, Elastic Lidar: Theory, Practice, and Analysis Methods (Wiley & Sons, 2004).
  48. J. Wilson and J. F. B. Hawkes, Optoelectronics: An Introduction (Prentice-Hall International, 1983).
  49. C. C. Davis, Lasers and Electro-Optics: Fundamentals and Engineering (Cambridge Univ. Press, 1996).
  50. J. Graeme, Photodiode Amplifiers: OP AMP Solutions (McGraw-Hill, 1995).

Cited By

Alert me when this paper is cited

OSA is able to provide readers links to articles that cite this paper by participating in CrossRef's Cited-By Linking service. CrossRef includes content from more than 3000 publishers and societies. In addition to listing OSA journal articles that cite this paper, citing articles from other participating publishers will also be listed.

« Previous Article  |  Next Article »

OSA is a member of CrossRef.

CrossCheck Deposited