12 May 2015 Measuring noise equivalent irradiance of a digital short-wave infrared imaging system using a broadband source to simulate the night spectrum
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Abstract
There is a growing interest in developing helmet-mounted digital imaging systems (HMDIS) for integration into military aircraft cockpits. This interest stems from the multiple advantages of digital vs. analog imaging such as image fusion from multiple sensors, data processing to enhance the image contrast, superposition of non-imaging data over the image, and sending images to remote location for analysis. There are several properties an HMDIS must have in order to aid the pilot during night operations. In addition to the resolution, image refresh rate, dynamic range, and sensor uniformity over the entire Focal Plane Array (FPA); the imaging system must have the sensitivity to detect the limited night light available filtered through cockpit transparencies. Digital sensor sensitivity is generally measured monochromatically using a laser with a wavelength near the peak detector quantum efficiency, and is generally reported as either the Noise Equivalent Power (NEP) or Noise Equivalent Irradiance (NEI). This paper proposes a test system that measures NEI of Short-Wave Infrared (SWIR) digital imaging systems using a broadband source that simulates the night spectrum. This method has a few advantages over a monochromatic method. Namely, the test conditions provide spectrum closer to what is experienced by the end-user, and the resulting NEI may be compared directly to modeled night glow irradiance calculation. This comparison may be used to assess the Technology Readiness Level of the imaging system for the application. The test system is being developed under a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the Air Force Research Laboratory.
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John Green, John Green, Timothy Robinson, Timothy Robinson, } "Measuring noise equivalent irradiance of a digital short-wave infrared imaging system using a broadband source to simulate the night spectrum", Proc. SPIE 9452, Infrared Imaging Systems: Design, Analysis, Modeling, and Testing XXVI, 945207 (12 May 2015); doi: 10.1117/12.2180285; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2180285
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