NASA's primary application for the proposed transmitter would be widespread deployment of ground-based, airborne and space-based DIAL sensors to map atmospheric ozone with high spatial and temporal resolution. This application is well aligned with NASA's Earth Science Directorate and immediately relevant to the TOLNet program. This proposal will allow NASA to deploy networks of ozone sensors with smaller and/or more affordable DIAL transmitters than are currently available to meet multiple mission needs and make the best use of limited resources. Additionally, our base pump laser can be parametrically shifted to the SWIR with a laser diode seeded OPO for sensing other atmospheric trace gasses including: CO, CO2, CH4, H2O and N2O. Other potential applications include visible systems for profiling of cloud and aerosol backscatter, ice mass and phytoplankton measurements, and direct-detection Doppler LIDAR wind measurements.
The pump laser for the proposed design would be the most compact and high energy kilohertz-rate Nd:YAG laser on the market. Bridger envisions a wide variety of applications for this laser including gas sensing lidar, hard-target ranging, ablation applications including mass spectrometry, nonlinear spectroscopy and as general purpose OPO pump. Within the gas sensing LIDAR market specific applications include detection of illicit methamphetamine labs, on-site pollution detection, verification of carbon sequestration sites, methane pipeline monitoring, and chemical weapons detection. The global market for sensors was estimated at $62.8 billion in 2011 and is expected to increase to $67.7 billion in 2012 and then to nearly $91.5 billion by 2016, at a compound annual growth rate of 7.8%. The market for biosensors and chemical sensors is expected to experience the highest growth, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.6% during the 4-year period from 2012 to 2016.