The group headed by K. Hamal has been formed in early seventies to support the satellite laser ranging activity. Its research and development is directed to the field of picosecond solid state photon counting, laser ranging technology and picosecond timing techniques. The ranging precision has been continually improved from the original value of a meter down to a millimetre level by 2000. Recently, the laser ranging system based on solid state technology and picosecond event timing technique is capable to range to ground targets with a precision of 1 millimetre and to Earth orbiting satellites at distances up to 20000 kilometres with an overall precision of 3-10 millimetres. The solid state detection technology together with laser ranging techniques have been exploited to develop the Lidar for atmospheric studies for the Mars planet scientific mission NASA Mars Polar Lander '98.
The Compact Lidar for ecology and atmospheric monitoring and the Photon counting based dust meter are another outputs of the space technology applications. The Raman picosecond laser generation and photon counting in the near infrared is investigated for eye safe laser ranging. In addition, the near infrared picosecond photon counting detectors are under development for fibre optics applications, quantum cryptography and sensors. Multiple wavelengths laser ranging is exploited for atmospheric studies. The picosecond timing techniques are developed and applied in laser ranging and detectors diagnostics.
The group is involved in numerous international projects and experiments in co-operation with universities and research institutes in Austria, China, Germany, Egypt (satellite laser ranging), Russia and the United States (space projects), Australia and Japan (eye safe laser ranging).