Remote Sensing Branch

The Remote Sensing Branch conducts research, design and development of state-of-the-art electro-optical instruments and sensors to provide both remote sensing and in-site measurements for scientific, exploration and aeronautic applications. Our work spans multiple engineering and science disciplines and encompasses both active and passive sensor systems. We provide conceptual design analysis; prototype and flight systems development; and we plan, manage and support instrument field test campaigns and flight instrument projects and missions.


  • Active and passive electro-optical systems development and instrument design
  • Laser component and system modeling
  • Laser materials modeling and development
  • Laser mission concept studies and evaluation of advanced laser system concepts
  • Laser ranging, velocity, and hazard avoidance
  • Flash lidar development
  • Direct and coherent lidar receiver design and development
  • Lidar instrument design, build and testing for ground, airborne and space applications
  • Flight laser systems development
  • Unique laser development from science requirements
  • Fabry-Perot interferometer development
  • Optical and UV  to IR detector subsystem design, test and characterization
  • Embedded electronic subsystem design, test and characterization
  • Raman spectroscopy
  • Quantum mechanical modeling
  • Sensor systems conceptual design, performance modeling, simulation, specification, prototyping and characterization
  • Sensor calibration and data analysis
  • Sensor demonstration from the lab, through field testing and into spaceflight
  • Temperature and pressure sensor system design and characterization
  • In-house flight instrument fabrication
  • System assembly, integration, test and validation
  • System aircraft and spacecraft instrument integration and test


  • Physicists
  • Optical Engineers
  • Electrical Engineers
  • Computer Scientists
  • Spectroscopists
  • Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Technologist
  • Mechanical, Structural and Thermal Analysts
  • System Engineers


  • ADAMS Modeling, Simulation, and Analysis
  • Mechanical Engineering Drawings
  • NASTRAN/PATRAN and Hypersizer Structural Analyses
  • ProEngineer CAD Models
  • Systems Engineering Products


  • 2 Micron Solid State Laser Lab
  • Coherent LIDAR Receiver Lab
  • Diode Pumped Laser Lab
  • Laser / LIDAR Electronic Lab
  • Laser Diode Characterization Lab
  • Laser Material Spectroscopy Lab, Contact: Brian Walsh
  • LIDAR System Integration Lab
  • LIDAR Systems Development Clean Room
  • LIDAR Test Observatory & Test Range
  • EMI/EMC Lab
  • Advanced LIDAR Development Lab
  • Data Acquisition Systems Development Lab
  • Flight Instrument Deployment Lab
  • Flight Instrument Deployment Lab
  • Flight Instruments Integration Pre-Clean & Clean Rooms
  • Flight Systems Development Lab
  • Fourier Transform Spectrometer (FTS) Lab
  • Optical Detectors Development & Test Lab
  • Optical Metrology & Calibration Lab
  • Optical Receivers Development Lab
  • Raman Spectroscopy Lab
  • Rooftop Observatory Lab
  • Spectrometers Development Lab
  • High Spectral Resolution Laser Lab
  • Remote Sensing Interferometer Development Laboratory
  • Ground, Aircraft, and High-Altitude Balloon Borne Remote Sensing Field Instruments Development Laboratory
  • Flight Instrument Assembly, Integration, and Test Clean Room
  • 8 cu.ft. Vacuum Test Chamber
  • Ambient Pressure Thermal Test Chamber
  • Remote Sensing Lab for Raman and Fluorescence Spectroscopy
  • Electronics Systems Test and Analysis Laboratory
  • Detector and Filter Spectral Characterization Spectrometers
  • Optical Systems Test and Development Laboratory
  • Optical Component Metrology/Performance Characterization (Zygo)
  • Surface Reflectivity Measurement Facility (BRDF)
  • Temperature Sensor Calibration Bath
  • Pressure Transducer Characterization System

Branch Management

Alan Little, Head​

Yana Z. Williams, Acting Assistant Head