Abstract

Operation of a CCD imager on a curved focal surface offers advantages to flat focal planes, especially for lightweight, relatively simple optical systems. The first advantage is that the modulation transfer function can approach diffraction-limited performance for a spherical focal surface employed in large field-of-view or large-format imagers. The second advantage is that a curved focal surface maintains more uniform illumination as a function of radius from the field center. Examples of applications of curved imagers, described here, include a small compact imager and the large curved array used in the Space Surveillance Telescope. The operational characteristics and mechanical limits of an imager deformed to a 15 mm radius are also described.

© 2015 Optical Society of America

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