Journal of the European Optical Society - Rapid publications, Vol 5 (2010)

Performance considerations for continuous-wave and pulsed laser line scan (LLS) imaging systems

F. M. Caimi, F. R. Dalgleish


Extended range underwater optical imaging techniques can be classified into one of two broad categories; those which use synchronously scanned narrow source and receiver paths to restrict both back-scattered and forward-scattered light reaching the receiver (continuous-wave laser line scan); and those which use pulsed sources and time-gating to remove back-scatter noise (pulsed laser line scan and pulse-gated laser line scan). Laser line scan systems are observed to perform at up to 5 to 6 optical attenuation lengths, but greater standoff distances are desirable for seabed imaging using the growing fleet of autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs). Currently, a moderate physical separation between laser and receiver is necessary to reject near-field multiple back-scatter, which imposes restrictions on AUV miniaturization. Recent experiments and theoretical modeling reveal that significant imaging improvements are possible over the existing continuous-wave laser line scan systems (LLS), by using a pulsed-gated version of the LLS (PG-LLS). However, the use of such a technique has a greater advantage in reducing the overall form factor over conventional LLS imaging system, as well as providing greater depth-of-field. In this paper, we present experimental results comparing both LLS and PG-LLS systems for several source-receiver separations and standoff distances. These results compare favorably with images obtained from validated LLS image simulation tools, and indicate the potential for reducing the source-receiver separation and therefore the system size.

© The Authors. All rights reserved. [DOI: 10.2971/jeos.2010.10020s]

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