A programmable optical filter for use in multispectral and hyperspectral imaging. The filter splits the light collected by an optical telescope into two channels for each of the pixels in a row in a scanned image, one channel to handle the positive elements of a spectral basis filter and one for the negative elements of the spectral basis filter. Each channel for each pixel disperses its light into n spectral bins, with the light in each bin being attenuated in accordance with the value of the associated positive or negative element of the spectral basis vector. The spectral basis vector is constructed so that its positive elements emphasize the presence of a target and its negative elements emphasize the presence of the constituents of the background of the imaged scene. The attenuated light in the channels is re-imaged onto separate detectors for each pixel and then the signals from the detectors are combined to give an indication of the presence or not of the target in each pixel of the scanned scene. This system provides for a very efficient optical determination of the presence of the target, as opposed to the very data intensive data manipulations that are required in conventional hyperspectral imaging systems.
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH
This invention was made with Government support under Contract DE-AC04-94AL85000 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The Government has certain rights in this invention.