This tutorial introduces the theory and applications of MTF, used to specify the image quality achieved by an imaging system. It covers basic linear systems theory and the relationship between impulse response, resolution, MTF, OTF, PTF, and CTF. Practical measurement and testing issues are discussed.
I first became aware that there was such a thing as MTF as an undergraduate at Rochester, scurrying around the Bausch and Lomb building. There was, in one of the stairwells, a large poster of the Air Force bar target set. I saw that poster every day, and I remember thinking…gee, that’s pretty neat. Well, more than 25 years later, I still think so. I have had great fun making MTF measurements on focal-plane arrays, SPRITE detectors, scanning cameras, IR scene projectors, telescopes, collimators, and infrared antennas. This book is an outgrowth of a short course that I have presented for SPIE since 1987. In it, I emphasize some practical things I have learned about making MTF measurements.
I am grateful for initial discussions on this subject at Arizona with Jack
Gaskill and Stace Dereniak. Since then, I have had the good fortune here at
Central Florida to work with a number of colleagues and graduate students on MTF issues. I fondly recall discussions of MTF with Arnold Daniels, Jim
Harvey, Didi Dogariu, Karen MacDougall, Marty Sensiper, Ken Barnard, Al
Ducharme, Ofer Hadar, Ric Schildwachter, Barry Anderson, Al Plogstedt,
Christophe Fumeaux, Per Fredin, and Frank Effenberger. I want to thank Dan
Jones of the UCF English Department for his support, as well as Rick Hermann, Eric Pepper, and Marshall Weathersby of SPIE for their assistance and enthusiasm for this project. I also appreciate the permissions granted for reproductions of some of the figures from their original sources.
Last but surely not least, I want to thank Maggie Boreman – my wife,
main encourager, and technical editor. Once again, Meg, you have wrestled with my occasionally tedious exposition and transformed it, if not into poetry, then at least into prose. Thanks.
15 March 2001