We designed an optical–digital system that delivers near-diffraction-limited imaging performance with a large depth of field. This system is the standard incoherent optical system modified by a phase mask with digital processing of the resulting intermediate image. The phase mask alters or codes the received incoherent wave front in such a way that the point-spread function and the optical transfer function do not change appreciably as a function of misfocus. Focus-independent digital filtering of the intermediate image is used to produce a combined optical–digital system that has a nearly diffraction limited point-spread function. This high-resolution extended depth of field is obtained through the expense of an increased dynamic range of the incoherent system. We use both the ambiguity function and the stationary-phase method to design these phase masks.
© 1995 Optical Society of America
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