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1 March 1990 Noise suppression in IR thermal-wave video images by real-time processing in synchronism with active stimulation of the target
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We describe an infrared (IR) imaging system in which noise suppression and image enhancement occur as a result of real-time processing techniques, synchronized with active time-dependent heating of the target. The system consists of an JR video camera and a real time image processor under the control of a computer workstation, together with various time-dependent heat sources. The heat sources are used to launch pulsed or periodic thermal waves into the target, and the camera is used to record the thermal waves scattered back to the surface by sub-surface thermal features (cracks, coating substrate boundaries, inter-ply delaminations, etc.). The technique involves applying either a sequence of short (-S. 5 ms) heat pulses with relatively long time intervals between them, or a long train of square or sinusoidal heating pulses with frequencies of a few Hz to a few kHz. In the first (pulsed) case, the signal processor is operated as a pixel-by-pixel box-car averager with images being taken in several gated time windows after each pulse. After averaging over multiple pulses, and suitable arithmetic manipulation of the gated images, a resultant image with increased contrast and a considerably higher signal-to-noise ratio is obtained. The result is as if a quarter of a million box-car averagers (one for each pixel of the image) had processed the data. In the second (periodic heating) case, the system is operated as if it consisted of a similar number of vector lock-in amplifiers, again producing an improved signal-to-noise ratio. We show examples of sub-surface features in graphite-epoxy laminates and copper printed circuit traces embedded in polyimide.
© (1990) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Lawrence D. Favro, Tasdiq Ahmed, Huijia J. Jin, Pao-Kuang Kuo, and Robert L. Thomas "Noise suppression in IR thermal-wave video images by real-time processing in synchronism with active stimulation of the target", Proc. SPIE 1313, Thermosense XII: An International Conference on Thermal Sensing and Imaging Diagnostic Applications, (1 March 1990);


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