Development of the HgCdTe Avalanche Photodiode Detectors and the Improvement in the CO2 Lidar Performance for the ASCENDS Mission

Tuesday, 15 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Xiaoli Sun1, James Brice Abshire1, Jeffrey R. Chen1, Anand K Ramanathan2 and Jianping Mao3, (1)NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, United States, (2)Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center, COLLEGE PARK, MD, United States, (3)University of Maryland College Park, College Park, MD, United States
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) is developing the CO2 lidar as a candidate for the NASA’s planned ASCENDS mission under the support of Earth Science Technology Office (ESTO) IIP and ATI-QRS programs. A new type of HgCdTe avalanche photodiode (APD) detector has been developed by the DRS Technologies under the IIP program. The new detectors achieved >70% quantum efficiency, including the effect of the fill factor, over the spectral range from 0.4 to 4.3 μm, which significantly improves the receiver performance of our CO2 lidar and enabled other remote sending measurements. The HgCdTe APD arrays have 80 μm square pixels in a 4x4 array along with a bank of 16 preamplifiers on the same chip carrier. Test results at both DRS and GSFC showed the HgCdTe APD array has achieved, an APD gain of 500-1000, 8-10 MHz electrical bandwidth, and an average noise equivalent power (NEP) of <0.5 fW/Hz1/2. It has demonstrated at least a 3 orders of magnitude dynamic range at a fixed APD gain setting. The gains of the APD and the preamplifier can also be adjusted to further extend the receiver dynamic range. During summer 2014 we successfully demonstrated airborne lidar measurements of column COusing one of these detectors. The Aerospace Corporation is currently building a 3U CubeSat with one of these detectors in a small closed-cycle cryocooler as the primary payload under the ESTO In-space Validation of Earth Science Technology (InVEST) program. The CubeSat is scheduled to be launched in late 2016 and will fly in a low Earth orbit and monitor the performance for at least a year. We have also updated the performance analysis of a space-based version of our CO2 lidar with the new HgCdTe APD detector. For the retrievals, a least-square-error method is used to fit the measured transmittances to a predetermined line shape function using 8 to 16 sampling wavelengths. The error in the derived total optical depth and the CO2 mixing ratio are estimated via the standard error propagation method. The error in the resultant CO2 mixing ratio is calculated as a function of the received optical signal power, including the effects of the laser energy, receiver telescope size, and solar background radiation noise. The presentation will give more details about the detector and its impact on our CO2 lidar for the ASCENDS mission.