Recent reports indicate that cooled and uncooled IR focal plane array sensors are progressing to a field-worthy level for commercial and defense applications. They offer higher sensitivity, amenability to signal processing and mechanical simplicity. However these sensors contain large detector-to- detector dark current (offset) and responsivity (gain) variations. These variations result in a severe problem called fixed pattern noise that can mask/distort the image obtained from the sensor. The correction process is generally termed as nonuniformity compensation. Conventional two-point compensation techniques are accurate enough, but require built-in controllable temperature references along with mechanical and electro-optical shutters. Therefore this compensation technique detracts the mechanical simplicity of using IR focal plane arrays. Scene-based nonuniformity techniques dispenses with the requirement of temperature references and shutters, but are not accurate enough for certain applications. This paper discusses two-point and scene-based nonuniformity compensation algorithms and proposes an empirical formula to automatically calculate the scene constants, which is an essential step towards practical applications. This paper reports the analyzed results of testing the algorithms on a number of IR images. A practical problem of 'artifacts' which arise when using scene-based nonuniformity compensation is also discussed. A common hardware scheme to implement both the algorithms is also presented in this paper.
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Ronda Venkateswarlu ; Meng H. Er ; Yu H. Gan and Yew C. Fong
Nonuniformity compensation for IR focal plane array sensors
", Proc. SPIE 3061, Infrared Technology and Applications XXIII, 915 (August 13, 1997); doi:10.1117/12.280310; http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/12.280310