Abstract

A procedure is described for modeling the behavior of astronomical bolometric interferometers. The scheme is based on the notion of eigenfields. The input and output eigenfields are those field distributions on the sky and at the detector to which the individual telescopes of an interferometer can couple. Eigenfields are more fundamental than eigenmodes and provide, regardless of optical configuration, an orthogonal basis for propagating the second-order statistical properties of a field from a source through the telescopes, through the beam combiners, and onto the detectors. With our scheme, it is possible to calculate the power coupled into coherent, partially coherent, and incoherent imaging arrays and to include the spatially distributed noise sources of the telescopes themselves.

© 2004 Optical Society of America

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