paper// IEEE Transactions on Aerospace and Electronic Systems

Adaptive Optical Target Detection Using Correlated Images

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A method for target detection that achieves clutter rejection by the use of multiple observations of the same target scene is developed. Multiple scene observations can be obtained by processing separate frequency bands of the same target scene or by recursively processing sequential observations in time. Optimal detection algorithms are developed, based on the assumption that the image intensity can be modeled as a variable mean spatial Gaussian process. Several fast detection algorithms are derived which make use of the fact that the covariance matrices of many optical and infrared (IR) images can be accurately approximated by diagonal matrices. These algorithms provide efficient solutions to the problem of processing multiple correlated scenes or multiple sequential imaging. Computer simulations based on actual optical and IR image data were used for checking the theoretical results. The new detection algorithms achieved performance improvement in detection signal-to-noise ratio of up to 10 dB over conventional target correlation methods.