A theory is presented which relates the minimum detectable contrast level for an object in the presence of noise to the statistics of the speckle. Consideration is given to smoothing of the noise by multiple looks and by area. Measurements of the minimum detectable contrast are made for two types of speckle noise. First, a coherent, plane wave is added to an ideal diffuse wave and the threshold of detection is established as a function of the beam ratio. Secondly, these results are compared to the technique of speckle smoothing using an N-fold intensity superposition of fully developed speckle pattens. Good agreement of experiments with theory is observed.
© 1976 Optical Society of America
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