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29 May 2014 Characterization of SWIR cameras by MRC measurements
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Cameras for the SWIR wavelength range are becoming more and more important because of the better observation range for day-light operation under adverse weather conditions (haze, fog, rain). In order to choose the best suitable SWIR camera or to qualify a camera for a given application, characterization of the camera by means of the Minimum Resolvable Contrast MRC concept is favorable as the MRC comprises all relevant properties of the instrument. With the MRC known for a given camera device the achievable observation range can be calculated for every combination of target size, illumination level or weather conditions. MRC measurements in the SWIR wavelength band can be performed widely along the guidelines of the MRC measurements of a visual camera. Typically measurements are performed with a set of resolution targets (e.g. USAF 1951 target) manufactured with different contrast values from 50% down to less than 1%. For a given illumination level the achievable spatial resolution is then measured for each target. The resulting curve is showing the minimum contrast that is necessary to resolve the structure of a target as a function of spatial frequency. To perform MRC measurements for SWIR cameras at first the irradiation parameters have to be given in radiometric instead of photometric units which are limited in their use to the visible range. In order to do so, SWIR illumination levels for typical daylight and twilight conditions have to be defined. At second, a radiation source is necessary with appropriate emission in the SWIR range (e.g. incandescent lamp) and the irradiance has to be measured in W/m2 instead of Lux = Lumen/m2. At third, the contrast values of the targets have to be calibrated newly for the SWIR range because they typically differ from the values determined for the visual range. Measured MRC values of three cameras are compared to the specified performance data of the devices and the results of a multi-band in-house designed Vis-SWIR camera system are discussed.
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M. Gerken, H. Schlemmer, Hubertus A. Haan, Christofer Siemens, and M. Münzberg "Characterization of SWIR cameras by MRC measurements", Proc. SPIE 9071, Infrared Imaging Systems: Design, Analysis, Modeling, and Testing XXV, 907110 (29 May 2014);

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