Optical EngineeringMultiple surface discrimination in three-dimensional FLASH laser radar while minimizing the effects of diffraction
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The goal of this work is to develop an algorithm to enhance the utility of three-dimensional (3-D) FLASH laser radar sensors through accurate ranging to multiple surfaces per image pixel while minimizing the effects of diffraction. With this algorithm it will be possible to realize numerous enhancements over both traditional Gaussian mixture modeling and single-surface range estimation. While traditional Gaussian mixture modeling can effectively model the received pulse, we know that its shape is likely altered by optical aberrations from the imaging system and the medium through which it is imaging. Additionally, only identifying a single surface per pulse may result in the loss of valuable information about partially obscured surfaces. This algorithm enables multisurface ranging of an entire image with a single laser pulse. Ultimately, improvements realized through this new ranging algorithm when coupled with various other techniques may make 3-D FLASH LADAR more suitable for remote sensing applications. Simulation examples show that the multisurface ranging algorithm derived in this work improves range estimation over standard Gaussian mixture modeling and frame-by-frame deconvolution using the Richardson-Lucy algorithm by up to 91% and 70% respectively.