KEYWORDS: Optical transfer functions, Point spread functions, Super resolution, Imaging systems, Sensors, Image restoration, Image resolution, Image quality, Modulation transfer functions, Phase transfer function
Wave-front coding, proposed by Dowski and Cathey in 1995, is widely known to be capable of extending the depth of focus (DOF) of incoherent imaging systems. However, benefiting from its very large point spread function (PSF) generated by a suitably designed phase mask that is added to the aperture plane, wave-front coding could also be used to achieve super-resolution without replacing the current sensor with one of smaller pitch size. An image amplification based super-resolution reconstruction procedure has been specifically designed for wave-front coded imaging systems and its effectiveness has been tested by experiment. For instance, for a focal length of 50 mm and f-number 4.5, objects within the range [5 m, ∞] are clearly imaged with the help of wave-front coding, which indicates a DOF extension ratio of approximately 20. The proposed super-resolution reconstruction procedure produces at least 3× resolution improvement, with the quality of the reconstructed super-resolution image approaching the diffraction limit.