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Proceedings Paper

Nonlinear Processing Of Quantitative Thermographic Images
Author(s): John A Pearce; Zee Man Ryu
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Paper Abstract

The minimum resolvable temperature difference in quantitative thermographic imaging is essentially determined by photo-detector noise processes. In fast scan devices the overall detector noise envelope may be ±0.5°C. When imaging quasistatic thermal scenes, integration of successive frames (signal averaging) can be used to reduce the effect of detector noise. However, many interesting thermal scenes are rapidly changing, such as the thermal pattern resulting from a laser pulse or from radio frequency energy applied to tissues, and frame integration cannot be applied. In the transient temperature measurement case, some smoothing operator must be used to improve the minimum resolvable temperature difference. Linear smoothing operators, such as averaging and gaussian filters, all have the undesirable side effect of smearing the few edges and other small details in the thermal image. Median filters offer the potential of filtering detector noise while preserving edges and other details. Because the median operator is inherently nonlinear, its effect on the accuracy of measured temperatures cannot be predicted a priori. For the photodetector studied, photoconductive mercury-cadmium-telluride, the detector noise process was determined to have a symmetrical probability density function. Thus the median filter yielded an excellent estimate of the uncorrupted signal with no degradation of edges or other details. The median filter is compared to a triangular window function.

Paper Details

Date Published: 27 March 1984
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 0446, Thermosense VI: Thermal Infrared Sensing for Diagnostics and Control, (27 March 1984); doi: 10.1117/12.939166
Show Author Affiliations
John A Pearce, The University of Texas at Austin (United States)
Zee Man Ryu, The University of Texas at Austin (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 0446:
Thermosense VI: Thermal Infrared Sensing for Diagnostics and Control
Gordon J. Burrer, Editor(s)

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