Imaging systems are used in consumer, medical, and military applications. Designing, developing, and building imaging systems requires a multidisciplinary approach. This issue features current research in imaging systems that ranges from fundamental theories to novel applications. Although the papers collected are diverse, their unique compilation provides a systems perspective to imaging.

© 2012 Optical Society of America

Imaging systems have numerous applications. Commercial imaging applications include microscopy, x-ray imaging, digital cameras, cell phone cameras, and IP cameras, whereas military applications include target acquisition, intelligence-surveillance-reconnaissance, and persistent surveillance. Independent of the application, there is a need for human interaction with the imaging system and the display of imaging information for overall system performance.

Assembling an imaging system requires integrating optics, sensing, image processing, and display rendering. An imaging system designer must consider the system as an integrated unit and optimize performance for its intended application. An understanding of several disciplines is needed to produce an optimal design. Imaging optics, optical detection, computation, display, and usability of information all contribute to defining the system. Each of these topics alone can be a special issue.

This special issue is aimed at understanding how such different elements combine to determine system performance and influence image quality. The intent is to highlight components that define the imaging system and to identify research advances in each area.

Scientists and engineers from the commercial, academic, and military areas came together to share advances in imaging systems at the OSA Imaging Systems and Applications (IS) topical meetings in 2010 (Tucson, Arizona) and in 2011 (Toronto, Canada). This issue contains a subset of the high-quality work presented at these meetings as well as some excellent contributions from the imaging systems community. Papers include imaging systems for environmental detection, imaging through turbulence, computational imaging, novel image sensors, camera systems, and optical image processing techniques.

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