Optical systems designed for some defense, environmental, and commercial remote-sensing applications must simultaneously have a high dynamic range, high sensitivity, and low noise-equivalent contrast. We have adapted James Janesick’s photon transfer technique for characterizing the noise performance of an electron multiplication CCD (EMCCD), and we have developed methods for characterizing performance parameters in a lab environment. We have
defined a new figure of merit to complement the traditionally used dynamic range that quantifies the usefulness of EMCCD imagers. We use the results for EMCCDs to predict their performance with hyperspectral and multispectral imaging systems.
Airborne surveillance presents challenging target-detection opportunities for optical remote sensors, especially under the constraints of size, weight, and power imposed by small aircraft. We present a spatial-frequency dependent figure-of-merit, called the Detector Quantum Efficiency (DQE), by first tracing its origins in single pixel photon multiplication detectors, where it is shown to be yield (quantum efficiency or QE) divided by the noise factor. We then show the relationship of DQE to several well-known figures-of-merit. Finally we broaden the definition of DQE to include the spatial-frequency dependence on the MTF of the system and the noise power spectrum (NPS) of the detector. We then present the results of the application of this DQE to a hyperspectral camera under development at BAE Systems Spectral Solutions LLC.