Abstract

In optical aperture-synthesis imaging of stellar objects, different beam combination strategies are used and proposed. Coaxial Michelson interferometers are very common and a homothetic multiaxial interferometer is recently realized in the Large Binocular Telescope. Laboratory experiments have demonstrated the working principles of two new approaches: densified pupil imaging and wide field-of-view (FOV) coaxial imaging using a staircase-shaped mirror. We develop a common mathematical formulation for direct comparison of the resolution and noise sensitivity of these four telescope configurations for combining beams from multiple apertures for interferometric synthetic aperture, wide-FOV imaging. Singular value decomposition techniques are used to compare the techniques and observe their distinct signal-to-noise ratio behaviors. We conclude that for a certain chosen stellar object, clear differences in performance of the imagers are identifiable.

© 2007 Optical Society of America

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