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Proceedings Paper

Application of phase matching autofocus in airborne long-range oblique photography camera
Author(s): Vladimir Petrushevsky; Asaf Guberman
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Paper Abstract

The Condor2 long-range oblique photography (LOROP) camera is mounted in an aerodynamically shaped pod carried by a fast jet aircraft. Large aperture, dual-band (EO/MWIR) camera is equipped with TDI focal plane arrays and provides high-resolution imagery of extended areas at long stand-off ranges, at day and night. Front Ritchey-Chretien optics is made of highly stable materials. However, the camera temperature varies considerably in flight conditions. Moreover, a composite-material structure of the reflective objective undergoes gradual dehumidification in dry nitrogen atmosphere inside the pod, causing some small decrease of the structure length. The temperature and humidity effects change a distance between the mirrors by just a few microns. The distance change is small but nevertheless it alters the camera's infinity focus setpoint significantly, especially in the EO band. To realize the optics' resolution potential, the optimal focus shall be constantly maintained. In-flight best focus calibration and temperature-based open-loop focus control give mostly satisfactory performance. To get even better focusing precision, a closed-loop phase-matching autofocus method was developed for the camera. The method makes use of an existing beamsharer prism FPA arrangement where aperture partition exists inherently in an area of overlap between the adjacent detectors. The defocus is proportional to an image phase shift in the area of overlap. Low-pass filtering of raw defocus estimate reduces random errors related to variable scene content. Closed-loop control converges robustly to precise focus position. The algorithm uses the temperature- and range-based focus prediction as an initial guess for the closed-loop phase-matching control. The autofocus algorithm achieves excellent results and works robustly in various conditions of scene illumination and contrast.

Paper Details

Date Published: 9 June 2014
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 9076, Airborne Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance (ISR) Systems and Applications XI, 90760G (9 June 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2049801
Show Author Affiliations
Vladimir Petrushevsky, Elbit Systems Electro-Optics El-Op Ltd. (Israel)
Asaf Guberman, Elbit Systems Electro-Optics El-Op Ltd. (Israel)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9076:
Airborne Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance (ISR) Systems and Applications XI
Daniel J. Henry; Davis A. Lange; Dale Linne von Berg; S. Danny Rajan; Thomas J. Walls; Darrell L. Young, Editor(s)

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