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 <i>n</i> beams are combined pairwise at <i>n</i>(<i>n</i> − 1)/2 detectors and the case in which all the <i>n</i> 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
Tadashi Nakajima and Hideo Matsuhara, "Sensitivity of an Imaging Space Infrared Interferometer," Appl. Opt. 40, 514-526 (2001)