Traditional approaches to wide field of view (FoV) imager design usually lead to overly complex optics with high optical mass and/or pan-tilt mechanisms that incur significant mechanical/weight penalties, which limit their applications, especially on mobile platforms such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). We describe a compact wide FoV imager design based on superposition imaging that employs thin film shutters and multiple beamsplitters to reduce system weight and eliminate mechanical pointing. The performance of the superposition wide FoV imager is quantified using a simulation study and is experimentally demonstrated. Here, a threefold increase in the FoV relative to the narrow FoV imaging optics employed imager design is realized. The performance of a superposition wide FoV imager is analyzed relative to a traditional wide FoV imager and we find that it can offer comparable performance.
© 2010 OSA
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