We study the sensitivities of space infrared interferometers. We formulate the signal-to-noise ratios of infrared images obtained by aperture synthesis in the presence of source shot noise, background shot noise, and detector read noise. We consider the case in which n beams are combined pairwise at n(n - 1)/2 detectors and the case in which all the n beams are combined at a single detector. We apply the results to future missions, Terrestrial Planet Finder and Darwin. We also discuss the potential of a far-infrared interferometer for a deep galaxy survey.
© 2001 Optical Society of America
Original Manuscript: August 7, 2000
Revised Manuscript: November 9, 2000
Published: February 1, 2001
Tadashi Nakajima and Hideo Matsuhara, "Sensitivity of an imaging space infrared interferometer," Appl. Opt. 40, 514-526 (2001)