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Proceedings Paper

Speckle characteristics of laser diodes for SWIR and NIR active imaging
Author(s): Lew Goldberg; Jeff Leach; Stephen Chinn; Vernon King
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Paper Abstract

Laser illumination makes it possible to perform high resolution imaging when ambient light level is insufficient to overcome camera noise. The relatively long coherence length of most lasers, however, causes coherent speckle in the camera image plane, which can result in a significant decrease of the image quality and the maximum achievable target identification range. We characterized several types of NIR and SWIR laser diode illumination sources, with emphasis placed on measuring the properties of coherent speckle observed in the camera image plane. Image plane speckle contrast was measured by illuminating the imaged Lambertian surface with single-mode laser, multi-mode laser, wide-stripe laser with two active junctions and broad-band emission, and NIR and SWIR vertical cavity surface emitting laser (VCSEL) arrays. The impact of various imaging system parameters, including pixel size, imaging lens focal length, F-number, and IFOV on the contrast and characteristic size of the speckle intensity distribution were determined. Speckle contrast dependence on the polarization properties of various reflecting surfaces was measured. The reduction of speckle contrast with increasing source spectral width, and increasing size of spatially incoherent VCSEL emitter arrays will be described. We show that a speckle contrast of 5-10% is achievable for a typical long range SWIR imaging system.

Paper Details

Date Published: 26 February 2013
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 8605, High-Power Diode Laser Technology and Applications XI, 860512 (26 February 2013); doi: 10.1117/12.2006269
Show Author Affiliations
Lew Goldberg, U.S. Army RDECOM CERDEC NVESD (United States)
Jeff Leach, U.S. Army RDECOM CERDEC NVESD (United States)
Stephen Chinn, U.S. Army RDECOM CERDEC NVESD (United States)
Vernon King, U.S. Army RDECOM CERDEC NVESD (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8605:
High-Power Diode Laser Technology and Applications XI
Mark S. Zediker, Editor(s)

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