The major impact on NASA applications will be to dramatically advance the lidar technology in the SWIR region, where Si-based detectors lose their sensitivity. The I2E-NF LmAPDs developed in this program will greatly improve the NEP and the highest stable gain that can be achieved with linear mode APDs. This will be beneficial for the measurement of atmospheric constituents, such as NASA's Active Sensing of CO2 Emissions over Nights, Days, and Seasons (ASCENDS) program. It is also beneficial for the measurement of more general atmospheric properties such as wind and weather patterns, and will benefit NASA's Doppler Wind Lidar program. Lidar vibrometry identifies remote objects based on their distinct vibration signatures, and will benefit from the increased performance of APDs. As a result of this, the I2E-NF LmAPDs will benefit NASA's Aerosols-Clouds-Ecosystems (ACE) program. With improved sensitivity in SWIR region, the I2E-NF LmAPDs will have important application in free-space optical communications as well.
The I2E-NF LmAPDs developed in this program will benefit a host of non-NASA commercial applications, including a variety of range-finding, lidar, and ladar applications; optical time domain reflectometry (OTDR); and free-space optical communications. For range-finding and ladar applications, the current military imperative to shift these applications to eye-safer wavelengths provides a strong driver for improved APD performance at ~ 1.5 um. For OTDR applications, the use of OTDR at 1.5 um is critical for the characterization of optical fiber links as part of network deployment and maintenance. Large-area linear mode APDs with improved sensitivity will allow for more accurate characterization of longer links as well as improved discrimination between faults situated in close physical proximity. Commercial free-space optical communications systems will also be able to leverage improvements realized from the development of large area SWIR linear mode APDs which can operate in both 1.06 and 1.55 um wavelengths.