Micro-laser rangefinder/altimeter for distance measurement

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Technology abstract

A Dutch company, specialized in advanced measurement equipment, developed a micro-laser based rangefinder/altimeter for accurate distance measurements in cooperation with ESA. The system works very well at short distances, but also provides distance measurements with centimetre accuracy of objects at distances of a few kilometres. The company seeks contacts with partners for technical cooperation projects and commercial agreements with technical assistance, aiming at new applications.

The micro-laser rangefinder takes advantage of a single photon sensitive detector, reducing the need for a high output power laser. This dramatically reduces the systems power consumption and size. In order to return comprehensible distance measurements, dedicated electronics have been developed and miniaturized to keep the overall size of the system small.

- Derk Schneemann -

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Technology Description

The micro-laser rangefinder accurately measures distance. It not only works at short distances, but also provides distance measurements with centimetre accuracy to objects as far away as a few kilometres. The system features a powerful micro-laser and a detector that is sensitive to single photons, which increases the measurement range and decreases the power consumption. The system was originally designed for use in space but can also be used in safety, security, agriculture, water management and land surveillance. The micro-laser altimeter is currently being implemented in several earth observation instruments and guidance navigation and control subsystems. Its small size and low power consumption however make it very suitable for many non-space applications as well.

Innovations & Advantages

The micro-laser rangefinder takes advantage of a single photon sensitive detector, reducing the need for a high output power laser. This dramatically reduces the systems power consumption, size and weight. In order to return comprehensible distance measurements, dedicated electronics have been developed and miniaturized to keep the overall size of the system small. This also enables easy integration in demanding environments. 

Further Information

Current and Potential Domains of Application

  • Safety
  • Security
  • Agriculture
  • Water management
  • Land surveillance