To address NASA’s need for next-generation spaceborne lidar systems for aerosol, cloud, and ocean profiling, Voxtel is developing a low-noise high-efficiency high-dynamic-range photon-counting (HiP) sensor. The HiP sensor is based on silicon single-photon avalanche diode (SPAD) technology and is capable of both atmospheric and ocean profiling, essentially enabling the first-ever ocean-profiling lidar from space and advanced retrievals of dense cloud properties. The HiP sensor has a linear photon-counting dynamic range of 10 GHz, a low dark-count rate of 25 kHz, and a high photon-detection efficiency of 35% at 532 nm.
The HiP sensor will enable the first-ever ocean-profiling lidar from space and advanced retrievals of dense cloud properties, thus enabling missions such as the Decadal Survey for Earth Science and Applications from Space (ESAS) Aerosols-Clouds-Ecosystems (ACE), which requires a multi-wavelength high-spectral resolution lidar (HSRL) to provide vertically resolved profiling of clouds and aerosols in the atmosphere and optical properties in the ocean.
This technology is also broadly applicable to ground-, aircraft-, and space-based direct detection lidars operating in the 355 to 900-nm wavelength range, including differential-absorption lidars, for chemical and biologic threat detection, and direct-detection wind lidars. The sensor is also suited for the emerging lidar markets of automotive, drone and robotics.