A coherent camera system performs ranging, spectroscopy, and thermal imaging. Local oscillator radiation is combined with target scene radiation to enable heterodyne detection by the coherent camera's two-dimensional photodetector array. Versatility enables deployment of the system in either a passive mode (where no laser energy is actively transmitted toward the target scene) or an active mode (where a transmitting laser is used to actively illuminate the target scene). The two-dimensional photodetector array eliminates the need to mechanically scan the detector. Each element of the photodetector array produces an intermediate frequency signal that is amplified, filtered, and rectified by the coherent camera's integrated circuitry. By spectroscopic examination of the frequency components of each pixel of the detector array, a high-resolution, three-dimensional or holographic image of the target scene is produced for applications such as air pollution studies, atmospheric disturbance monitoring, and military weapons targeting.
This invention was made with Government support under Contract DE-AC05-84OR21400 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy to Martin Marietta Energy Systems Inc., and the Government has certain rights to this invention.