This paper explores practical design considerations for selecting Q for an electro-optical earth imaging system, where Q is defined as (λ FN) / pixel pitch. Analytical methods are used to show that, under imaging conditions with high SNR, increasing Q with fixed aperture cannot lead to degradation of image quality regardless of the angular smear rate of the system. The potential for degradation of image quality under low SNR is bounded by an increase of the detector noise scaling as Q. An imaging test bed is used to collect representative imagery for various Q configurations. The test bed includes real world errors such as image smear and haze. The value of Q is varied by changing the focal length of the imaging system. Imagery is presented over a broad range of parameters.
© 2013 Optical Society of America
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