Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date




Publication Title

Proceedings of the 9th International Particle Accelerator Conference



Conference Name

9th International Particle Accelerator Conference, April 29-May 4, 2018, Vancouver, Canada


Reliable atmospheric surveys for carbon distributions will be essential to building an understanding of the Earth's carbon cycle and the role it plays in climate change. One of the core needs of NASA 's Active Sensing of CO2 Over Nights, Days and Seasons (ASCENDS) Mission is to advance the range and precision of current remote atmospheric survey techniques. The feasibility of using accelerator-based sources of infrared light to improve current airborne lidar systems has been explored. A literary review has been conducted to asses the needs of ASCENDS versus the current capabilities of modern atmospheric survey technology, and the parameters of a free electron laser (FEL) source were calculated for a lidar system that will meet these needs. By using the "Next Linear Collider" from the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC), a mobile FEL-based lidar may be constructed for airborne surveillance. The calculated energy of the lidar pulse is 0.1 joule: this output is a two orders of magnitude gain over current lidar systems, so in principle, the mobile FEL will exceed the needs of ASCENDS. Further research will be required to asses other challenges to mobilizing the FEL technology.


© 2018 by JACoW, Geneva, Switzerland

Published under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) License.


Funding: This paper is authored by Jefferson Science Associates, LLC under U.S. DOE Contract No. DE-AC05- 06OR23177. E.J. was supported by the Virginia Space Grant Consortium, grant number 16-589.

Original Publication Citation

Johnson, E. S., Terzić, B., & Krafft, G. A. (2018). Mobile free-electron laser for remote atmospheric survey. In S. Koscielniak, T. Satogata, V.R.W. Schaa, J. Thomson (Eds.), Proceedings of the 9th International Particle Accelerator Conference (pp. 4351-4353). JACoW.


0000-0002-9646-8155 (Terzić), 0000-0002-0328-5828 (Krafft)