Carswell, Allan

Allan Carswell

Full Professor
Ph.D. (Toronto)

Department(s): Physics and Astronomy

Phone: ext.

Research Fields
Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics, Planetary Physics

Graduate Program Appointment
Emeritus Member: Eligible to supervise M.Sc. or co-supervise Ph.D.

Research Types

Research specialization
Applications of lasers to remote sensing (LIDAR); Laser physics; Atmospheric physics.

I am interested in LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging), which is a technique that utilizes high-powered lasers for remote sensing of planetary atmospheres and surfaces. We have used atmospheric LiDAR to characterize the Earth’s atmosphere, especially in the Arctic, and marine lidar to study lakes and rivers. In 1974, I founded Optech, Inc. to design and manufacture commercial LiDAR systems, which have been applied to topographic surveying, 3D imaging, industrial process measurement, vehicle guidance and even spacecraft tracking and landing. Through Optech, I collaborated with NASA on the development of the Canadian weather station (MET) on board the 2007 Phoenix Mars lander, the heart of which was a LiDAR system. Through LiDAR, we were able to make the first observation of falling snow on Mars.