USU Developing World’s Most Sensitive LiDAR

Utah State University hopes to soon be able to claim the worlds most sensitive LiDAR. This is not your grandmothers LiDAR. The recently installed instrument is capable of projecting light 55 miles into the atmosphere. It is so powerful that you can feel the light not the heat, but the power, if you are brave enough to put your arm into the beam.

The new unit replaces an atmospheric LiDAR that was in use from 1993-2004 at USU. The new one will have 70 times more sensitivity than its predecessor. Anytime you can change a sensitivity by 10, thats a big deal, and were doing it by about 70, physics Professor Wickwar commented.

The first atmospheric LiDARs were developed back in the early 1900s. They used large flashlights instead of lasers, which had not been invented, hence the term light detection and not laser.