Conventionally a detected image is represented by an intensity array owing to the square-law nature of most detectors. However, this does not mean that we have to restrict ourselves to using intensity images for the correlation process. Transforming intensity images into phase images before correlation, which can be easily realized by a phase-modulation spatial light modulator, offers an alternative approach for high-performance pattern recognition. A phase-transformed input joint transform correlator is investigated in detail in terms of pattern discriminability, detection efficiency, and noise robustness. We show that the phase-transformed joint transform correlator has higher pattern discriminability and detection efficiency than the conventional joint transform correlator, and it also offers a better trade-off between the pattern discriminability and noise tolerance. A proof-of-concept experiment is also provided.
© 1996 Optical Society of America
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