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Lidar Exploration of the Atmosphere, Space and Their Interactions

We explore advanced spectroscopy principles, develop new lidar technologies, study the fundamental physical and chemical processes that govern the whole atmosphere, and make new discoveries in the atmosphere–space sciences.

Group leaving McMurdo

Photo taken in November 2010 at McMurdo, Antarctica (From left: Wentao Huang, Xinzhao Chu, John A. Smith and Weichun Fong)

This is an energetic group! Many members have traveled to the end of the world to make lidar observations in Antarctica. Two of them (Zhibin Yu and Brendan Roberts) have braved through the harsh Antarctic winters in 2011 and 2012!

Winter Over

We are excited not only by the beautiful penguin and aurora, but also by the new science discoveries we have made in the polar thermosphere, mesosphere and stratosphere from the McMurdo lidar data. More details can be found in our Publications.


An emperor penguin at Pegasus Airport near McMurdo

Energetic group for lidar research

Three Adelie penguins chatting at the McMurdo sound


Boulder is home to a vibrant community of scientists and engineers and houses some of the world's most renowned environmental science institutes and facilities. Many of our residents allow this exploratory spirit to carry over into their free time, with vast expanses of open space in and around the community for hiking, biking, skiing and other outdoor activities.


Our Lidar Group in October 2013 on Boulder Campus.

Besides making new science discoveries, these creative researchers are also excited by making innovations in lidar technologies and developing the next-generation lidar instruments. Currently, several new lidars are being developed on our campus in Boulder.


Creative students Zhibin Yu and John A. Smith “painted” LIDAR with the STAR Na Doppler lidar at the Table Mountain Lidar Facility, north of Boulder.

We always welcome new members and scientific collaborations! Together we explore the atmosphere–space interactions with lidar observations and numerical modeling.

McMurdo Aurora

Spectacular aurora display over Arrival Heights near McMurdo, Antarctica when Zhibin Yu was operating our Fe Boltzmann lidar there on May 28, 2011.