OSA's Digital Library

Journal of the Optical Society of America A

Journal of the Optical Society of America A


  • Vol. 2, Iss. 5 — May. 1, 1985
  • pp: 649–656

Time-resolved speckle effects on the estimation of laser-pulse arrival times

Bin-Ming Tsai and Chester S. Gardner  »View Author Affiliations

JOSA A, Vol. 2, Issue 5, pp. 649-656 (1985)

View Full Text Article

Enhanced HTML    Acrobat PDF (824 KB)

Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Browse by Journal and Year


Lookup Conference Papers

Close Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Article Tools



When laser pulses are reflected by targets that have range spreads larger than the transmitted pulse width, the width of the received pulses will be longer than the correlation length of the speckle-induced fluctuations. As a consequence, speckle will cause random small-scale fluctuations within the received pulse that will distort its shape. This phenomenon is called time-resolved speckle. In laser ranging and altimetry, the random pulse distortion caused by time-resolved speckle can seriously degrade the timing accuracy of the receivers. In this paper, we study the statistical properties of time-resolved speckle and the problem of estimating the arrival times of laser pulses in its presence. The maximum-likelihood (ML) estimator of the pulse arrival time is derived, and its performance is evaluated for pulse reflections from flat diffuse targets. The performance of the ML estimator is compared with the performance of several suboptimal estimators. When the signal level is high, speckle noise places a fundamental limit on the accuracy of the suboptimal estimators. It is shown that the ML estimator performs considerably better than the suboptimal estimators and that its accuracy improves as the width of the receiver observation interval increases.

© 1985 Optical Society of America

Original Manuscript: May 21, 1984
Manuscript Accepted: December 20, 1984
Published: May 1, 1985

Bin-Ming Tsai and Chester S. Gardner, "Time-resolved speckle effects on the estimation of laser-pulse arrival times," J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 2, 649-656 (1985)

Sort:  Author  |  Year  |  Journal  |  Reset  


  1. J. W. Goodman, “Statistical properties of laser speckle pattern,” in Laser Speckle and Related Phenomena, J. C. Dainty, ed. (Springer-Verlag, New York, 1975), pp. 9–65. [CrossRef]
  2. J. Opt. Soc. Am. 66(11) (1976).
  3. J. W. Goodman, in Remote Techniques for Capillary Wave Measurement, K. S. Krishnan, N. A. Peppers, eds. (Stanford Research Institute Report, Stanford, Calif., 1973).
  4. J. W. Goodman, “Some effects of target-induced scintillation on optical radar performance,” Proc. IEEE 53, 1688 (1965). [CrossRef]
  5. C. S. Gardner, “Target signatures for laser altimeters: an analysis,” Appl. Opt. 21, 3932 (1982). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  6. B. M. Tsai, C. S. Gardner, “Remote sensing of sea state using laser altimeters,” Appl. Opt. 21, 3932 (1982). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  7. I. Bar-David, “Communication under the Poisson regime,”IEEE Trans. Inform. Theory IT-15, 31 (1969). [CrossRef]
  8. I. Bar-David, “Minimum-mean-square-error estimation of photon pulse delay,”IEEE Trans. Inf. Theory IT-21, 326 (1975). [CrossRef]
  9. M. Elbaum, P. Diament, “Estimation of image centroid, size and orientation with laser radar,” Appl. Opt. 16, 2433 (1977). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  10. C. W. Helmstrom, Statistical Theory of Signal Detection (Pergamon, London, 1960).

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