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A critical evaluation of test patterns for EO system performance characterization

Author: Bijl, P. · Valeton, J.M. · Hogervorst, M.A.
Type:article
Date:2001
Institution: TNO Technische Menskunde
Source:Holst G.C., Infrared Imaging Systems: Design, Analysis, Modeling, and Testing XII, 18 April 2001 through 19 April 2001, Orlando, FL, 4372, 27-38
series:
Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
Identifier: 236327
doi: doi:10.1117/12.439158
Keywords: Vision · Dynamic MRT · Electro-Optical system performance testing · MRTD · MTDP · TOD · Cameras · Image sensors · Linear systems · Performance · Projection systems · Real time systems · Infrared focal plane array cameras (IRFPA) · Infrared imaging

Abstract

The traditional test pattern for end-to-end EO system performance testing in the laboratory has been the static 3- or 4-bar target. This choice was governed by linear systems approach. The introduction of under-sampled imagers such as IRFPAs (infrared focal plane array cameras) has challenged the testing community to develop an alternative test, because the occurrence of aliasing has a completely different effect on periodic targets (such as the bar target) and real, non-periodic targets. A new test should at least have the following properties: lab testing is objective and easy, the measure is representative for field performance, and modeling (sensor and human) the test should be relatively easy. Several alternative test methods and test patterns have already been proposed. An example is the TOD method that uses non-periodic test patterns. Other examples are the dynamic MRT that uses a moving 4-bar target, and the MTDP that uses the traditional static target but allows that not all four bars have to be present in the image. The development of real-time scene projection allows testing with real infrared targets under controlled conditions. The authors will discuss a large number of test patterns and methods and show their advantages and disadvantages for end-to-end EO system performance testing. They conclude that simple non-periodic spatial test patterns, such as used in the TOD, are the best choice for sensor performance characterization.