A passively illuminated scene presents a variety of photon pathways: direct and indirect, which convey varying levels of information about the scene across different dimensions of the light field. In indirect passive imaging, the object of interest is occluded from the imager which has no control over illumination. Using a second-order (non-linear) image formation model we demonstrate (experimentally) the feasibility of passive indirect diffuse imaging.
Tsang et al. have shown that the Fisher information of the two incoherent point source separation, below the Rayleigh limit, is finite and achievable using optical modes measurements.<sup>1</sup> However, recent claims regarding partial coherence of sources, no matter how small, leads to necessarily zero Fisher information as the source separation decreases below the Rayleigh limit approaching zero have proved to be controversial.<sup>2, 3</sup> Thus, the impact of partial coherence on the photon counting optical modal measurements merits further exploration. In this work, we derive the mutual coherence function (image plane) of two partially coherent point sources and find the classical Fisher information of the source separation using both direct image plane and photon counting modal measurements. A classical Fisher information analysis of partially coherent source(s) leads to some rather surprising results for two-point source resolution as the source separation approaches zero. We find that the magnitude of the Fisher information strongly depends on the degree of (positive/negative) partial coherence, which can be understood using an intuitive semi-classical analysis of direct image plane and photon counting modal measurements. We also provide an error analysis of the maximum likelihood estimators for both measurements.