In order to obtain quantitative data on the backscatter function from laser irradiance backscattered from the atmosphere, the ratio of power transmitted to power received must be accurately known. No absolute measurements of power, optical system transmittance, detector quantum efficiency, or electronic gain are necessarily required. The technique of measuring the power ratio by irradiating a smoked or painted target of known diffuse reflectance at a fixed range is used to calibrate a complete lidar system. The relative area of the output power pulse is monitored by a fast response photodiode, and the relative area of the returned pulse is also recorded after passing through a filter of known high optical density. It is essential to control the temperatures of the laser rod and receiver interference prefilter to ensure proper spectral matching. Field experience gained using this technique is described, and examples of calibration measurements and backscatter functions for smog and cirrus clouds are presented.
F. F. Hall, Jr. and H. Y. Ageno, "Absolute Calibration of a Laser System for Atmospheric Probing," Appl. Opt. 9, 1820-1824 (1970)