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7 October 2014 Software thermal imager simulator
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A software application, SIST, has been developed for the simulation of the video at the output of a thermal imager. The approach offers a more suitable representation than current identification (ID) range predictors do: the end user can evaluate the adequacy of a virtual camera as if he was using it in real operating conditions. In particular, the ambiguity in the interpretation of ID range is cancelled. The application also allows for a cost-efficient determination of the optimal design of an imager and of its subsystems without over- or under-specification: the performances are known early in the development cycle, for targets, scene and environmental conditions of interest. The simulated image is also a powerful method for testing processing algorithms. Finally, the display, which can be a severe system limitation, is also fully considered in the system by the use of real hardware components. The application consists in Matlabtm routines that simulate the effect of the subsystems atmosphere, optical lens, detector, and image processing algorithms. Calls to MODTRAN® for the atmosphere modeling and to Zemax for the optical modeling have been implemented. The realism of the simulation depends on the adequacy of the input scene for the application and on the accuracy of the subsystem parameters. For high accuracy results, measured imager characteristics such as noise can be used with SIST instead of less accurate models. The ID ranges of potential imagers were assessed for various targets, backgrounds and atmospheric conditions. The optimal specifications for an optical design were determined by varying the Seidel aberration coefficients to find the worst MTF that still respects the desired ID range.
© (2014) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Loic Le Noc, Ovidiu Pancrati, Michel Doucet, Denis Dufour, Benoit Debaque, Simon Turbide, Francois Berthiaume, Louis Saint-Laurent, Linda Marchese, Martin Bolduc, and Alain Bergeron "Software thermal imager simulator", Proc. SPIE 9249, Electro-Optical and Infrared Systems: Technology and Applications XI, 92490B (7 October 2014);

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