Simulation of laser beam reflection at the sea surface modeling and validation
A 3D simulation of the reflection of a Gaussian shaped laser beam on the dynamic sea surface is presented. The simulation is suitable for the pre-calculation of images for cameras operating in different spectral wavebands (visible, short wave infrared) for a bistatic configuration of laser source and receiver for different atmospheric conditions. In the visible waveband the calculated detected total power of reflected laser light from a 660nm laser source is compared with data collected in a field trial. Our computer simulation comprises the 3D simulation of a maritime scene (open sea/clear sky) and the simulation of laser beam reflected at the sea surface. The basic sea surface geometry is modeled by a composition of smooth wind driven gravity waves. To predict the view of a camera the sea surface radiance must be calculated for the specific waveband. Additionally, the radiances of laser light specularly reflected at the wind-roughened sea surface are modeled consideri ng an analytical statistical sea surface BRDF (bidirectional reflectance distribution function). Validation of simulation results is prerequisite before applying the computer simulation to maritime laser applications. For validation purposes data (images and meteorological data) were selected from field measurements, using a 660nm cw-laser diode to produce laser beam reflection at the water surface and recording images by a TV camera. The validation is done by numerical comparison of measured total laser power extracted from recorded images with the corresponding simulation results. The results of the comparison are presented for different incident (zenith/azimuth) angles of the laser beam.