In the past decade imaging spectrometers for observation of the Earth were developed to use the complete information of a spectrum as a major tool in the study of physical and biological processes of the Earth. Instead of a few relatively broad spectral bands (line detector), this imager concept provides for the detection of many contiguous narrow spectral bands by applying the technology of matrix detectors. The change from one-dimensional to two-dimensional solid-state imagers makes it necessary to carry out the specific signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) analysis of such detectors. A simulation of maximum and minimum radiances for typical spectral signatures of the Earth (water, vegetation) and the verification of these radiances with modular optoelectronic scanner data provide the means for calculation of electrons generated at the matrix detector. For a hypothetical sensor, water-minimum and vegetation-maximum signals are calculated, and the degradation of the SNR caused by image smear of two-dimensional solid-state imagers is demonstrated.
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