Analysis of a potassium lidar system for upper-atmospheric wind–temperature measurements

George C. Papen, Chester S. Gardner, W. Matthew Pfenninger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We report a detailed analysis of wind–temperature (W/T) lidar systems based on mesospheric potassium as the tracer. Currently, most narrow-band W/T systems use sodium (Na) as the tracer because of its relatively large natural abundance, large cross section, and the ability to use Doppler-free Na spectroscopy to generate accurate absolute frequency markers. We show that a potassium-based system with existing near-infrared solid-state laser technology operating at the potassium D lines has the potential to make W/T measurements that are more accurate than current Na narrow-band systems and can be far simpler technically.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6950-6958
Number of pages9
JournalApplied Optics
Issue number30
StatePublished - Oct 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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