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I'm performing a literature review centred around LIDAR for space-debris detection. One issue that I've been unable to find any information on is what factors limit the range and resolution of such systems. Most LIDAR papers I've been able to find focus on ground-based monitoring which have very different parameters.

In my mind, one of the primary limitations on range, resolution and ranging is going to be beam divergence. However, my background is in electronics and photonics, not optics. As such, I have no idea what the state of the art is with regards to either minimizing or correcting for beam divergence in LIDAR systems.

So my questions are thus:

  • What is a minimum, reasonable divergence value for a space-borne laser system using standard parts?
  • What methods are commonly used to achieve such low values of divergence?
  • Are there any methods, theoretic or practical, for correcting for large divergence to accurately resolve the location of an object within such a diverged beam?

I'd also appreciate it if you could point me towards any sources that might prove useful in this regard. Thanks!

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  • $\begingroup$ You can start by reading about beam divergence in Gaussian beams. Longer wavelength and wider beam diameter lead to smaller divergence. en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaussian_beam $\endgroup$
    – Gilbert
    Nov 17, 2021 at 2:05

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