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12 April 2004 Resolution limits in imaging LADAR systems
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In this paper, we introduce a new design concept of laser radar systems that combines both phase comparison and time-of-flight methods. We show from signal to noise ration considerations that there is a fundamental limit to the overall resolution in 3-D imaging range laser radar (LADAR). We introduce a new metric, volume of resolution (VOR), and we show from quantum noise considerations, that there is a maximum resolution volume, that can be achieved, for a given set of system parameters. Consequently, there is a direct tradeoff between range resolution and spatial resolution. Thus in a LADAR system, range resolution may be maximized at the expense of spatial image resolution and vice versa. We introduce resolution efficiency, ηr, as a new figure of merit for LADAR, that describes system resolution under the constraints of a specific design, compared to its optimal resolution performance derived from quantum noise considerations. We analyze how the resolution efficiency could be utilized to improve the resolution performance of a LADAR system. Our analysis could be extended to all LADAR systems, regardless of whether they are flash imaging or scanning laser systems.
© (2004) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Jed Khoury, Charles L. Woods, Joseph P. Lorenzo, John Kierstead, Dana Pyburn, and S. K. Sengupta "Resolution limits in imaging LADAR systems", Proc. SPIE 5437, Optical Pattern Recognition XV, (12 April 2004);


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