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20 September 2016 Optimal speckle noise reduction filter for range gated laser illuminated imaging
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Laser illuminated imaging has a number of applications in the areas of night time air-to-ground target surveillance, ID, and pointing and tracking. Using a laser illuminator, the illumination intensity and thus the signal to noise ratio can be controlled. With the advent of high performance range gated cameras in the short-wave infra-red band, higher spatial resolution can be achieved over passive thermal night imaging cameras in the mid-wave infra-red due to the shorter wave-length. If a coherent illuminator is used the resulting imagery often suffers from speckle noise due to the scattering off of a rough target surface, which gives it a grainy “salt and pepper” appearance. The probability density function for the intensity of focal plane speckle is well understood to follow a negative exponential distribution. This can be exploited to develop a Bayesian speckle noise filter. The filter has the advantage over simple frame averaging approaches in that it preserves target features and motion while reducing speckle noise without smearing or blurring the images. The resulting filtered images have the appearance of passive imagery and so are more amenable to sensor fusion with simultaneous mid-wave infra-red thermal images for enhanced target ID. The noise filter improvement is demonstrated using examples from real world laser imaging tests on tactical targets.
Conference Presentation
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David Dayton, John Gonglewski, James Lasche, and Arthur Hassall "Optimal speckle noise reduction filter for range gated laser illuminated imaging", Proc. SPIE 9982, Unconventional Imaging and Wavefront Sensing XII, 99820G (20 September 2016);


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