Radiometry, Infrared Systems, Tracking

Signal-to-noise ratio, contrast-to-noise ratio, and exposure time for imaging systems with photon-limited noise

[+] Author Affiliations
Robert L. Lucke, Robert A. Kessel

U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, D.C. 20375

Opt. Eng. 45(5), 056403 (May 24, 2006). doi:10.1117/1.2205850
History: Received July 11, 2005; Revised September 08, 2005; Accepted October 03, 2005; Published May 24, 2006
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We present simple, mathematically tractable definitions of signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), contrast, and contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR) for imaging systems when photon-counting statistics are the dominant source of noise. These definitions lead to a simple expression for CNR that is convenient for comparing images taken under different conditions and/or in different wave bands. Furthermore, this real-space CNR is directly proportional to the SNR in Fourier space. The sampling factor Q with which a focal plane array records an image is shown to be a primary determinant of exposure time and of SNR. If Q is known (or assumed), the f-number, resolution, and pixel size are not required.

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© 2006 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers

Citation

Robert L. Lucke and Robert A. Kessel
"Signal-to-noise ratio, contrast-to-noise ratio, and exposure time for imaging systems with photon-limited noise", Opt. Eng. 45(5), 056403 (May 24, 2006). ; http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/1.2205850


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