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Fundamentals of Imaging

This workshop introduces imaging principles.  The program helps participants better understand how the focal plane interacts with optics to produce images. Sensor design involves tradeoffs between spatial resolution and signal sensitivity (e.g., signal-to-noise ratio [SNR]). The workshop clarifies these concepts so that participants can better appreciate how they affect focal plane specification.

"Instructor was very knowledgeable and did a great job presenting."

"Good balance of slides and demonstrations." 

"He tied in real life examples and past experiences with theories."

Workshop Outline

The workshop begins with an introduction to imaging and spatial resolution. Demonstrations and basic design exercises illustrate image formation, the optical point-spread function (PSF) often limiting resolution, and “top-level” optics and focal plane specifications to achieve a desired resolution.


Radiometry, relating pixel digital counts to scene radiance to estimate scene brightness in the visible or temperature in the infrared, is introduced with application to sensor design, combining optics and focal plane to predict performance. 

SNR vs. signal is demonstrated with a test MWIR sensor provided courtesy of SE-IR Corporation. 


The workshop introduces spatial frequency, Modulation Transfer Function (MTF) and aliasing concepts essential to analysis, design, and sensor evaluation and test. The workshop conveys these ideas via illustrations, with explanation of the results of laboratory measurements of MTF vs. detector size.


Finally, workshop concepts are applied to consider the detector size question “How small is too small?”

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