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Proceedings Paper

Quantum Limited Imaging
Author(s): J. C. Dainty
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Paper Abstract

Optical imaging at high light levels is adequately described by the diffraction or wave theory of image formation as, for example, expounded in Reference 1. The directly observable quantity in this case is the wave intensity. At low light levels, however, the intensity is not measurable: real detectors respond to the light field by emitting phot2-electrons randomly in space and time. According to the semi-classical model, due originally to Mandel , the photo-electrons form a doubly stochastic point process which embodies the statistics of the classical intensity and those of the detection process. In particular, the probability of photo-electron emission in the region of the space-time coordinate (x,t) is simply proportional to the intensity averaged over the same space-time region. This semi-classical model is sufficient for most purposes in low light level imaging and in the following we shall refer to the photo-electrons as detected photons or quanta.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 January 1987
PDF: 2 pages
Proc. SPIE 0813, Optics and the Information Age, (1 January 1987); doi: 10.1117/12.967271
Show Author Affiliations
J. C. Dainty, Imperial College (United Kingdom)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 0813:
Optics and the Information Age
Henri H. Arsenault, Editor(s)

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