26 August 2008 Remote ultra-low light imaging (RULLI) for space situational awareness (SSA): modeling and simulation results for passive and active SSA
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Abstract
Remote Ultra-Low Light Imaging detectors are photon limited detectors developed at Los Alamos National Laboratories. RULLI detectors provide a very high degree of temporal resolution for the arrival times of detected photoevents, but saturate at a photo-detection rate of about 106 photo-events per second. Rather than recording a conventional image, such as output by a charged coupled device (CCD) camera, the RULLI detector outputs a data stream consisting of the two-dimensional location, and time of arrival of each detected photo-electron. Hence, there is no need to select a specific exposure time to accumulate photo-events prior to the data collection with a RULLI detector - this quantity can be optimized in post processing. RULLI detectors have lower peak quantum efficiency (from as low as 5% to perhaps as much as 40% with modern photocathode technology) than back-illuminated CCD's (80% or higher). As a result of these factors, and the associated analyses of signal and noise, we have found that RULLI detectors can play two key new roles in SSA: passive imaging of exceedingly dim objects, and three-dimensional imaging of objects illuminated with an appropriate pulsed laser. In this paper we describe the RULLI detection model, compare it to a conventional CCD detection model, and present analytic and simulation results to show the limits of performance of RULLI detectors used for SSA applications at AMOS field site.
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Michael C. Roggemann, Michael C. Roggemann, Kris Hamada, Kris Hamada, S. Rao Gudimetla, S. Rao Gudimetla, Kim Luu, Kim Luu, L. William Bradford, L. William Bradford, David C. Thompson, David C. Thompson, Robert Shirey, Robert Shirey, "Remote ultra-low light imaging (RULLI) for space situational awareness (SSA): modeling and simulation results for passive and active SSA", Proc. SPIE 7094, Unconventional Imaging IV, 709409 (26 August 2008); doi: 10.1117/12.793913; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.793913
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