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Proceedings Paper

Foveated optics
Author(s): Kyle R. Bryant
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Paper Abstract

Foveated imaging can deliver two different resolutions on a single focal plane, which might inexpensively allow more capability for military systems. The following design study results provide starting examples, lessons learned, and helpful setup equations and pointers to aid the lens designer in any foveated lens design effort. Our goal is to put robust sensor in a small package with no moving parts, but still be able to perform some of the functions of a sensor in a moving gimbal. All of the elegant solutions are out (for various reasons). This study is an attempt to see if lens designs can solve this problem and realize some gains in performance versus cost for airborne sensors. We determined a series of design concepts to simultaneously deliver wide field of view and high foveal resolution without scanning or gimbals. Separate sensors for each field of view are easy and relatively inexpensive, but lead to bulky detectors and electronics. Folding and beam-combining of separate optical channels reduces sensor footprint, but induces image inversions and reduced transmission. Entirely common optics provide good resolution, but cannot provide a significant magnification increase in the foveal region. Offsetting the foveal region from the wide field center may not be physically realizable, but may be required for some applications. The design study revealed good general guidance for foveated optics designs with a cold stop. Key lessons learned involve managing distortion, telecentric imagers, matching image inversions and numerical apertures between channels, reimaging lenses, and creating clean resolution zone splits near internal focal planes.

Paper Details

Date Published: 17 May 2016
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 9822, Advanced Optics for Defense Applications: UV through LWIR, 982216 (17 May 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2231328
Show Author Affiliations
Kyle R. Bryant, U.S. Army AMRDEC (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9822:
Advanced Optics for Defense Applications: UV through LWIR
Jay N. Vizgaitis; Bjørn F. Andresen; Peter L. Marasco; Jasbinder S. Sanghera; Miguel P. Snyder, Editor(s)

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