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Applied Optics

Applied Optics


  • Vol. 41, Iss. 24 — Aug. 20, 2002
  • pp: 5084–5095

Photon-limited synthetic-aperture imaging for planet surface studies

Robert L. Lucke and Lee J Rickard  »View Author Affiliations

Applied Optics, Vol. 41, Issue 24, pp. 5084-5095 (2002)

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The carrier-to-noise ratio that results from phase-sensitive heterodyne detection in a photon-limited synthetic-aperture ladar (SAL) is developed, propagated through synthetic-aperture signal processing, and combined with speckle to give the signal-to-noise ratio of the resultant image. Carrier- and signal-to-noise ratios are defined in such a way as to be familiar to the optical imaging community. Design equations are presented to show that a 10-µm SAL in orbit around Mars can give centimeter-class resolution with reasonable laser power. SAL is harder to implement in the short-wave infrared and is probably not practical at visible wavelengths unless many separate images can be averaged. Some tutorial information on phase-sensitive heterodyne detection and on synthetic-aperture signal processing and image formation is provided.

© 2002 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(030.5290) Coherence and statistical optics : Photon statistics
(030.6140) Coherence and statistical optics : Speckle
(110.0110) Imaging systems : Imaging systems
(280.6730) Remote sensing and sensors : Synthetic aperture radar

Original Manuscript: January 9, 2002
Revised Manuscript: May 23, 2002
Published: August 20, 2002

Robert L. Lucke and Lee J Rickard, "Photon-limited synthetic-aperture imaging for planet surface studies," Appl. Opt. 41, 5084-5095 (2002)

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