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26 September 2007 An investigation of the potential for the use of a high resolution adaptive coded aperture system in the mid-wave infrared
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Previous applications of coded aperture imaging (CAI) have been mainly in the energetic parts of the electro-magnetic spectrum, such as gamma ray astronomy, where few viable imaging alternatives exist. In addition, resolution requirements have typically been low (~ mrad). This paper investigates the prospects for and advantages of using CAI at longer wavelengths (visible, infrared) and at higher resolutions, and also considers the benefits of adaptive CAI techniques. The latter enable CAI to achieve reconfigurable modes of imaging, as well as improving system performance in other ways, such as enhanced image quality. It is shown that adaptive CAI has several potential advantages over more traditional optical systems for some applications in these wavebands. The merits include low mass, volume and moments of inertia, potentially lower costs, graceful failure modes, steerable fields of regard with no macroscopic moving parts and inherently encrypted data streams. Among the challenges associated with this new imaging approach are the effects of diffraction, interference, photon absorption at the mask and the low scene contrasts in the infrared wavebands. The paper analyzes some of these and presents the results of some of the tradeoffs in optical performance, using radiometric calculations to illustrate the consequences in a mid-infrared application. A CAI system requires a decoding algorithm in order to form an image and the paper discusses novel approaches, tailored to longer wavelength operation. The paper concludes by presenting initial experimental results.
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Chris Slinger, Michael Eismann, Neil Gordon, Keith Lewis, Gregor McDonald, Mark McNie, Doug Payne, Kevin Ridley, Malcolm Strens, Geoff De Villiers, and Rebecca Wilson "An investigation of the potential for the use of a high resolution adaptive coded aperture system in the mid-wave infrared", Proc. SPIE 6714, Adaptive Coded Aperture Imaging and Non-Imaging Sensors, 671408 (26 September 2007);

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