Abstract

A laser absorption spectrometer, using an ir laser transmitter and a heterodyne radiometer, can be used from an aircraft or spacecraft to measure altitude profiles of air pollutants and other atmospheric constituents. The technique involves measurement of differential absorption at several wavelengths, using the diffusely reflecting earth’s surface to provide a return signal. The pressure broadening of absorption lines allows one to discriminate between high and low altitude absorbers. Application of the technique to measurements of ozone, nitric oxide, and water vapor are presented. CO2 and CO lasers are considered as transmitters. The discussion includes altitude resolution limitations, atmospheric temperature dependence, and frequency stability requirements of the instrument.

© 1974 Optical Society of America

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