Holographic aperture ladar (HAL) is a variant of synthetic aperture ladar (SAL). The two processes are related in that they both seek to increase cross-range (i.e., the direction of the receiver translation) image resolution through the synthesis of a large effective aperture. This is in turn achieved via the translation of a receiver aperture and the subsequent coherent phasing and correlation of multiple received signals. However, while SAL imaging incorporates a translating point detector, HAL takes advantage of a two-dimensional translating sensor array. For the research presented in this article, a side-looking stripmap HAL geometry was used to sequentially image a set of Ronchi ruling targets. Prior to this, theoretical calculations were performed to determine the baseline, single subaperture resolution of our experimental, laboratory-based system. Theoretical calculations were also performed to determine the ideal modulation transfer function (MTF) and expected cross-range HAL image sharpening ratio corresponding to the geometry of our apparatus. To verify our expectations, we first sequentially captured an oversampled collection of pupil plane field segments for each Ronchi ruling. A HAL processing algorithm incorporating a high-precision speckle field registration process was then employed to phase-correct and reposition the field segments. Relative interframe piston phase errors were also removed prior to final synthetic image formation. By then taking the Fourier transform of the synthetic image intensity and examining the fundamental spatial frequency content, we were able to produce experimental modulation transfer function curves, which we then compared with our theoretical expectations. Our results show that we are able to achieve nearly diffraction-limited results for image sharpening ratios as high as 6.43.
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