A 6-channel dichroic-based polychromator is presented as the spectrally selective unit for the U.P.C. elastic/Raman
lidar. Light emission is made at 355-nm (ultraviolet, UV), 532-nm (visible, VIS) and 1064-nm (near infrared, NIR)
wavelengths. In reception, the polychromator is the spectral separation unit that separates the laser backscattered
composite return into 3 elastic (355, 532, 1064-nm wavelengths) and 3 Raman channels (386.7, 607.4 and 407.5-nm
(water-vapor) wavelengths). The polychromator houses photo-multiplier tubes (PMT) for all the channels except for the
NIR one, which is avalanche photodiode (APD) based.
The optomechanical design uses 1-inch optics and Eurorack standards. The APD-based receiver uses a XY-axis
translation/elevation micro-positioning stage due to its comparatively small active area and motorised neutral density
filters are used in all PMT-based channels to avoid detector saturation. The design has been specially optimized to
provide homogeneous spatial light distribution onto the photodetectors and good mechanical repeatability. All channels
are acquired in mixed analog and photon-counting mode using Licel® transient recorders, which are controlled by
means of a user friendly LabVIEWTM interface.
The paper focuses on the main polychromator optical design parameters, that is, light collimation trade-offs, end-to-end
transmissivity, net channel responsivity, light distribution and spot size onto the photodetectors.
The polychromator along with the rest of the U.P.C. lidar system has successfully been tested during a recent lidar
system intercomparison campaign carried out in Madrid (Spain) during Oct. 2010.