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Optical Engineering

Reflective tomography using a short-pulselength laser: system analysis for artificial satellite imaging
Author(s): Charles L. Matson; Eric P. Magee; Donald E. Holland
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Paper Abstract

The Air Force Phillips Laboratory is in the process of demonstrating an advanced space surveillance capability with a heterodyne laser radar (ladar) system. Notable features of this ladar system include its narrow (< 1.5 ns) micropulses, contained in a pulse-burst waveform that allows high-resolution range data to be obtained, and its high power (30 J in a pulse burst), which permits reasonable signal returns from satellites. The usefulness of these range data for use in reflective tomographic reconstructions of satellite images is discussed. A brief review of tomography is given. Then it is shown that the ladar system is capable of providing adequate range-resolved data for reflective tomographic reconstructions in terms of range resolution and sampling constraints. Mathematical expressions are derived which can be used to convert the ladar returns into reflective projections. Image reconstructions from computer-simulated data which include the effects of laser speckle and photon noise are presented and discussed. These reconstructions contain artifacts even in the absence of noise, due to the inadequacies of the standard tomographic problem formulation to accurately model the reflective projections obtained from the ladar system. However, object features can still be determined from the reconstructions when typical noise levels are included in the simulation.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 September 1995
PDF: 10 pages
Opt. Eng. 34(9) doi: 10.1117/12.210758
Published in: Optical Engineering Volume 34, Issue 9
Show Author Affiliations
Charles L. Matson, Air Force Phillips Lab. (United States)
Eric P. Magee, Air Force Phillips Lab. (United States)
Donald E. Holland, Air Force Phillips Lab. (United States)


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