Date of Award

Summer 2000

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Electrical & Computer Engineering

Committee Director

Hani E. Elsayed-Ali

Committee Member

Linda L. Vahala

Committee Member

Sebastian Kuhn


Measurement of atmospheric water vapor is very important for understanding the Earth's climate and water cycle. The remote sensing Differential Absorption Lidar (DIAL) technique is a powerful method to perform such measurement from aircraft and space. This thesis describes a new advanced detection system, which incorporates major improvements regarding sensitivity and size. These improvements include a low noise advanced avalanche photodiode detector, a custom analog circuit, a 14-bit digitizer, a microcontroller for on board averaging and finally a fast computer interface.

This thesis describes the design and validation of this new water vapor DIAL detection system which was integrated onto a small Printed Circuit Board (PCB) with minimal weight and power consumption. Comparing its measurements to an existing DIAL system for aerosol and water vapor profiling validated the detection system.


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