Abstract

Streak tube imaging lidar (STIL) is an active imaging system using a pulsed laser transmitter and a streak tube receiver to produce 3D range and intensity imagery. The STIL has recently attracted a great deal of interest and attention due to its advantages of wide azimuth field-of-view, high range and angle resolution, and high frame rate. This work investigates the signal-to-noise performance of STIL systems. A theoretical model for characterizing the signal-to-noise performance of the STIL system with an internal or external intensified streak tube receiver is presented, based on the linear cascaded systems theory of signal and noise propagation. The STIL system is decomposed into a series of cascaded imaging chains whose signal and noise transfer properties are described by the general (or the spatial-frequency dependent) noise factors (NFs). Expressions for the general NFs of the cascaded chains (or the main components) in the STIL system are derived. The work presented here is useful for the design and evaluation of STIL systems.

© 2012 Optical Society of America

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