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25 October 2013 Gun muzzle flash detection using a CMOS single photon avalanche diode
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Si based sensors, in particular CMOS Image sensors, have revolutionized low cost imaging systems but to date have hardly been considered as possible candidates for gun muzzle flash detection, due to performance limitations, and low SNR in the visible spectrum. In this study, a CMOS Single Photon Avalanche Diode (SPAD) module is used to record and sample muzzle flash events in the visible spectrum, from representative weapons, common on the modern battlefield. SPADs possess two crucial properties for muzzle flash imaging - Namely, very high photon detection sensitivity, coupled with a unique ability to convert the optical signal to a digital signal at the source pixel, thus practically eliminating readout noise. This enables high sampling frequencies in the kilohertz range without SNR degradation, in contrast to regular CMOS image sensors. To date, the SPAD has not been utilized for flash detection in an uncontrolled environment, such as gun muzzle flash detection. Gun propellant manufacturers use alkali salts to suppress secondary flashes ignited during the muzzle flash event. Common alkali salts are compounds based on Potassium or Sodium, with spectral emission lines around 769nm and 589nm, respectively. A narrow band filter around the Potassium emission doublet is used in this study to favor the muzzle flash signal over solar radiation. This research will demonstrate the SPAD's ability to accurately sample and reconstruct the temporal behavior of the muzzle flash in the visible wavelength under the specified imaging conditions. The reconstructed signal is clearly distinguishable from background clutter, through exploitation of flash temporal characteristics.
© (2013) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Tomer Merhav, Vitali Savuskan, and Yael Nemirovsky "Gun muzzle flash detection using a CMOS single photon avalanche diode", Proc. SPIE 8896, Electro-Optical and Infrared Systems: Technology and Applications X, 88960H (25 October 2013);

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