It is known that scattering by particulates within natural waters is the main cause of the blur in underwater images. Underwater images can be better restored or enhanced with knowledge of the point spread function (PSF) of the water. This will extend the performance range as well as the information retrieval from underwater electro-optical systems, which is critical in many civilian and military applications, including target and especially mine detection, search and rescue, and diver visibility. A better understanding of the physical process involved also helps to predict system performance and simulate it accurately on demand. The presented effort first reviews several PSF models, including the introduction of a semi-analytical PSF given optical properties of the medium, including scattering albedo, mean scattering angles and the optical range. The models under comparison include the empirical model of Duntley, a modified PSF model by Dolin et al, as well as the numerical integration of analytical forms from Wells, as a benchmark of theoretical results. For experimental results, in addition to that of Duntley, we validate the above models with measured point spread functions by applying field measured scattering properties with Monte Carlo simulations. Results from these comparisons suggest it is sufficient but necessary to have the three parameters listed above to model PSFs. The simplified approach introduced also provides adequate accuracy and flexibility for imaging applications, as shown by examples of restored underwater images.
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ErrataWeilin Hou, Deric J. Gray, Alan D. Weidemann, and Robert A. Arnone, "Comparison and validation of point spread models for imaging in natural waters," Opt. Express 16, 9958-9965 (2008)