OSA's Digital Library

Applied Optics

Applied Optics


  • Editor: Joseph N. Mait
  • Vol. 52, Iss. 7 — Mar. 1, 2013
  • pp: C58–C63

Information capacity as a figure of merit for spectral imagers: the trade-off between resolution and coregistration

Torbjørn Skauli  »View Author Affiliations

Applied Optics, Vol. 52, Issue 7, pp. C58-C63 (2013)

View Full Text Article

Enhanced HTML    Acrobat PDF (189 KB)

Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Browse by Journal and Year


Lookup Conference Papers

Close Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Article Tools



The performance of spectral imagers is customarily described by several characteristics including resolution, noise, and coregistration. These must be traded off against each other in a practical imager design. This paper proposes a way to use the information capacity, in an information-theoretic sense, as a figure of merit for spectral imagers. In particular, it is shown how a metric [Opt. Express 20, 918 (2012)] can be used to incorporate coregistration performance in a definition of total noise, which in turn can be used in the definition of information capacity. As an example, it is shown how the information capacity can be used to optimize the pixel size in a simple case that can be treated analytically. Generally, the information capacity is attractive as a fundamental, application-independent figure of merit for spectral imager optimization and benchmarking.

© 2013 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(220.4830) Optical design and fabrication : Systems design
(110.3055) Imaging systems : Information theoretical analysis
(110.4234) Imaging systems : Multispectral and hyperspectral imaging

Original Manuscript: October 16, 2012
Revised Manuscript: January 24, 2013
Manuscript Accepted: January 24, 2013
Published: February 11, 2013

Torbjørn Skauli, "Information capacity as a figure of merit for spectral imagers: the trade-off between resolution and coregistration," Appl. Opt. 52, C58-C63 (2013)

Sort:  Author  |  Year  |  Journal  |  Reset  


  1. P. B. Fellgett and E. H. Linfoot, “On the assessment of optical images,” Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A 247, 369–407 (1955). [CrossRef]
  2. I. J. Cox and C. J. R. Sheppard, “Information capacity and resolution in an optical system,” J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 3, 1152–1158 (1986). [CrossRef]
  3. C. L. Fales, F. O. Huck, and R. W. Samms, “Imaging system design for improved information capacity,” Appl. Opt. 23, 872–888 (1984). [CrossRef]
  4. R. Piestun and D. A. B. Miller, “Electromagnetic degrees of freedom of an optical system,” J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 17, 892–902 (2000). [CrossRef]
  5. C.-L. Tisse, F. Guichard, and F. Cao, “Does resolution really increase image quality?” Proc. SPIE 6817, 68170Q (2008). [CrossRef]
  6. F. Cao, F. Guichard, and H. Hornung, “Information capacity: a measure of potential image quality of a digital camera,” Proc. SPIE 7537, 75370F (2010). [CrossRef]
  7. P. Mouroulis, D. A. Thomas, T. G. Chrien, V. Duval, R. O. Green, J. J. Simmonds, and A. H. Vaughan, Trade Studies in Multi/Hyperspectral Imaging Systems—Final Report (NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 1998).
  8. T. Skauli, “An upper-bound metric for characterizing spectral and spatial coregistration errors in spectral imaging,” Opt. Express 20, 918–933 (2012). [CrossRef]
  9. T. Skauli, “Quantifying coregistration errors in spectral imaging,” Proc. SPIE 8158, 81580A (2011). [CrossRef]
  10. G. J. Burton and I. R. Moorhead, “Color and spatial structure in natural scenes,” Appl. Opt. 26, 157–170 (1987). [CrossRef]
  11. A. Martinez, “Spectral efficiency of optical direct detection,” J. Opt. Soc. Am. B 24, 739–749 (2007). [CrossRef]
  12. A. Lapidoth, and S. M. Moser, “On the capacity of the discrete-time Poisson channel,” IEEE Trans. Inf. Theory 55, 303–322 (2009). [CrossRef]
  13. A. Lapidoth, “Capacity results of an optical intensity channel with input-dependent channel noise,” IEEE Trans. Inf. Theory 58, 207–223 (2012). [CrossRef]
  14. S. Arimoto, “An algorithm for computing the capacity of arbitrary discrete memoryless channels,” IEEE Trans. Inf. Theory 18, 14–20 (1972). [CrossRef]

Cited By

Alert me when this paper is cited

OSA is able to provide readers links to articles that cite this paper by participating in CrossRef's Cited-By Linking service. CrossRef includes content from more than 3000 publishers and societies. In addition to listing OSA journal articles that cite this paper, citing articles from other participating publishers will also be listed.


Fig. 1. Fig. 2.

« Previous Article  |  Next Article »

OSA is a member of CrossRef.

CrossCheck Deposited