Active and passive imaging in the THz spectral region: Phenomenology, dynamic range, modes, and illumination


The useful compromise between resolution and penetration power of the submillimeter or terahertz (THz) spectral region has long made it attractive for a variety of imaging applications. However, many of the demonstrations of imaging in this spectral region have used strategically oriented targets, especially favorable concealment materials, proximate imaging geometries, etc. This paper reports the results of studies aimed at better understanding the phenomenology of targets, the impact of this phenomenology on various active and passive imaging strategies, and most importantly, the development of imaging strategies that do not require the aforementioned special circumstances. Particular attention is paid to the relationship between active and passive images, especially with respect to how they interact with the illumination- and detector-mode structures of various imaging scenarios. It is concluded that the very large dynamic range that can be obtained with active single-mode systems (including focal-plane arrays) can be used in system designs to overcome the deleterious effects that result from the dominance of specular reflections in single-mode active systems as well as to strategically orient targets to obtain recognition. This will aid in the development of a much more robust and generally useful imaging technology in this spectral region. © 2008 Optical Society of America.

Publication Title

Journal of the Optical Society of America B: Optical Physics