A two-dimensional (2D) Fourier transform algorithm for the image reconstruction of synthetic-aperture imaging ladar (SAIL) collected data is suggested. This algorithm consists of quadratic phase compensation in azimuth direction and 2D fast Fourier transform. Based on this algorithm and the parallel 2D Fourier transform capability of spherical lens, an optical principle scheme that processes the SAIL data is proposed. The basic principle, design equations, and necessary analysis are presented. To verify this principle scheme, an experimental optical SAIL processor setup is constructed. The imaging results of SAIL data obtained by our SAIL demonstrator are presented. The optical processor is compact, lightweight, and consumes low power. This optical processor can also provide inherent parallel and speed-of-light computing capability, and thus has potential applications in on-board and satellite-borne SAIL systems.
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