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Applied Optics

Applied Optics

APPLICATIONS-CENTERED RESEARCH IN OPTICS

  • Vol. 31, Iss. 23 — Aug. 10, 1992
  • pp: 4751–4757

Imaging thermal objects with photon-counting detectors

Edward A. Watson and G. Michael Morris  »View Author Affiliations


Applied Optics, Vol. 31, Issue 23, pp. 4751-4757 (1992)
http://dx.doi.org/10.1364/AO.31.004751


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Abstract

A photon-counting camera is used to generate images of thermal (blackbody) objects. Analytical estimates of the count rates that can be obtained for thermal objects in the 300–800-K temperature range are given for several different photocathode materials. Images generated with a photon-counting camera are compared with those obtained with infrared cameras that operate in the 3–5 and 8–12-μm ranges. It is found that high-resolution images of thermal objects can be generated with the photon-counting camera. The noise-equivalent differential temperature that can be obtained with a photon-counting camera is given as a function of the number of detected photoevents. Pattern-recognition experiments that use low-light-level (quantum-limited) images of thermal objects are reported. In the experiments, photon-limited images of thermal objects are correlated with a reference function that is stored in computer memory. The number of detected photoevents required to reliably distinguish between two thermal objects is determined and compared to the noise-equivalent differential temperature figure of merit.

© 1992 Optical Society of America

History
Original Manuscript: August 2, 1991
Published: August 10, 1992

Citation
Edward A. Watson and G. Michael Morris, "Imaging thermal objects with photon-counting detectors," Appl. Opt. 31, 4751-4757 (1992)
http://www.opticsinfobase.org/ao/abstract.cfm?URI=ao-31-23-4751

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