Abstract

We study the sensitivities of space infrared interferometers. We formulate the signal-to-noise ratios of infrared images obtained by aperture synthesis in the presence of source shot noise, background shot noise, and detector read noise. We consider the case in which n beams are combined pairwise at n(n - 1)/2 detectors and the case in which all the n beams are combined at a single detector. We apply the results to future missions, Terrestrial Planet Finder and Darwin. We also discuss the potential of a far-infrared interferometer for a deep galaxy survey.

© 2001 Optical Society of America

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