The volume scattering function (VSF) of seawater affects visibility, remote sensing properties, in-water light propagation, lidar performance, and the like. Currently, it’s possible to measure only small forward angles of VSF, or to use cumbersome, large, and non-auton - omous systems. This innovation is a method of measuring the full range of VSF using a portable instrument. A single rapid-sensing photosensor is used to scan a green laser beam, which delivers the desired measurement. By using a single sensor, inter-calibration is avoided. A compact design is achieved by using drift-free detector electronics, fiber optics, and a new type of photomultiplier. This provides a high angular resolution of 1° or better, as well as the ability to focus in on a VSF region of particular interest.

Currently, the total scattering of light is measured as a difference from the other two parts of the light budget equation. This innovation will allow the direct calculation of the total scattering of light by taking an integral of the VSF over all angles. This directly provides one of the three components of the light budget equation, allowing greater versatility in its calculation.

This work was done by Yogesh C. Agrawal of Sequoia Scientific, Inc. for Goddard Space Flight Center. For further information, contact the Goddard Innovative Partnerships Office at (301) 286-5810. GSC-15395-1

NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the December, 2009 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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