A known problem with infrared imaging devices is their non-uniformity. This non-uniformity is the result of dark current, amplifier mismatch as well as the individual photo response of the detectors. To improve performance, non-uniformity correction (NUC) techniques are applied. Standard calibration techniques use linear, or piecewise linear models to approximate the non-uniform gain and off set characteristics as well as the nonlinear response. Piecewise linear models perform better than the one and two-point models, but in many cases require storing an unmanageable number of correction coefficients. Most nonlinear NUC algorithms use a second order polynomial to improve performance and allow for a minimal number of stored coefficients. However, advances in technology now make higher order polynomial NUC algorithms feasible. This study comprehensively tests higher order polynomial NUC algorithms targeted at short wave infrared (SWIR) imagers. Using data collected from actual SWIR cameras, the nonlinear techniques and corresponding performance metrics are compared with current linear methods including the standard one and two-point algorithms. Machine learning, including principal component analysis, is explored for identifying and replacing bad pixels. The data sets are analyzed and the impact of hardware implementation is discussed. Average floating point results show 30% less non-uniformity, in post-corrected data, when using a third order polynomial correction algorithm rather than a second order algorithm. To maximize overall performance, a trade off analysis on polynomial order and coefficient precision is performed. Comprehensive testing, across multiple data sets, provides next generation model validation and performance benchmarks for higher order polynomial NUC methods.
McKenna R. Lovejoy and Mark A. Wickert, "Testing of next-generation nonlinear calibration based non-uniformity correction techniques using SWIR devices," Proc. SPIE 10178, Infrared Imaging Systems: Design, Analysis, Modeling, and Testing XXVIII, 1017803 (Presented at SPIE Defense + Security: April 11, 2017; Published: 3 May 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2262127.
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