A mathematical system model for a compact heterodyne-reception infrared radar is developed. This model incorporates the statistical effects of propagation through atmospheric turbulence, target speckle and glint, and heterodyne-reception shot noise. It is used to find the image signal-to-noise ratio of a matched-filter envelope-detector receiver and the target detection probability of the optimum likelihood ratio processor. For realistic parameter values it is shown that turbulence-induced beam spreading and coherence loss may be neglected. Target speckle and atmospheric scintillation, however, present serious limitations on single-frame imaging and target-detection performance. Experimental turbulence strength measurements are reviewed, and selected results are used in sample performance calculations for a realistic infrared radar.
© 1981 Optical Society of America
J. H. Shapiro, B. A. Capron, and R. C. Harney, "Imaging and target detection with a heterodyne-reception optical radar," Appl. Opt. 20, 3292-3313 (1981)