Optical Engineering • Open AccessModeling the optical transfer function in the imaging chain
Modeling the imaging chain has become a critical design tool to understand the relationship between design trades and image quality in camera systems. The mathematical models for the fundamental components of an imaging chain are well understood and have been validated using working camera systems. However, the complexity of camera designs continues to grow as the technology advances to drive higher performance using different approaches. The fundamental imaging chain models do not always meet the needs of the new imaging system designs, thus requiring the models to advance in complexity as well. Of particular interest to the optical designers is the development of mathematical models that enable more complex modeling of the wavefront errors for the optical transfer functions (OTF) in the image chain models. A tutorial on the imaging chain is given followed by an innovative approach using an η matrix for modeling the OTF in the imaging chain.