Articles

The Windimager® Story

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Windimager was originally developed for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) by SIBELLOPTICS, LLC. under the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program.  Originally intended to detect and measure aircraft wake vorticies, the systems flexible design allows it to meet the needs of a variety of demanding industries and market segments, including several key aviation applications.

Wind Lidar is vital in the detection of severe weather phenomena such as clear-air turbulence, dry microbursts, aircraft wake vortices, and dry wind shear; all undetectable by conventional Doppler Radar.

Windimager’s highly collimated, short wavelength laser output enables it to illuminate and accurately track wind borne particles that are too small for Radar to detect.  Windimager can see atmospheric anomalies that are invisible to conventional radar and with its revolutionary pulsed laser technology; WindImager can produce wind profile data with unmatched detail and speed. Unlike any other Lidar, Windimager’s unique fiber optic architecture generates pulses with peak powers over 3,000 watts (1-mJ / 300-ns) at rates adjustable from 5,000 to 20,000 pulses per second. It also has an extremely narrow frequency linewidth (less than 25 kHz) and is capable of measuring wind speeds of ±127 meters per second (± 284 mi/hr) relative to the reference frame of the Lidar. These features enable WindImager to map the most severe winds (including EF5 tornados) as well as track airborne pollutants far faster and with greater resolution than any other Lidar technology.

WindImager’s state-of-the-art signal processing system incorporates the latest in digitization and processing technology and represents a leap forward in a Lidar’s ability to process large amounts of data in real time. This expands WindImager’s ability to sample a larger array of data points, thus creating a more dense 3D wind map and to sample larger numbers of return pulses, boosting the signal CNR (Carrier to Noise Ratio) for any given measurement.