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A powerful infrared aerosol lidar operating at the eyesafe wavelength of 1.56 μm has been developed. More than 140 mJ per pulse are obtained from stimulated Raman backscattering narrow‐band Nd:YAG laser radiation in deuterium. The mobile lidar system was successfully applied during the VAST and MAPTIP international aerosol field campaigns in 1992 and 1993. A range between 0.3 and more than 10 km is demonstrated for slant‐path measurements in the presence of aerosols or cirrus clouds.