Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Spatio-Spectral Interferometric Imaging and the Wide-Field Imaging Interferometry Testbed
by Iacchetta, Alexander S., Ph.D., University of Rochester, 2018, 153; 10936092
Abstract (Summary)

The light collecting apertures of space telescopes are currently limited in part by the size and weight restrictions of launch vehicles, ultimately limiting the spatial resolution that can be achieved by the observatory. A technique that can overcome these limitations and provide superior spatial resolution is interferometric imaging, whereby multiple small telescopes can be combined to produce a spatial resolution comparable to a much larger monolithic telescope. In astronomy, the spectrum of the sources in the scene are crucial to understanding the material composition of the sources. So, the ultimate goal is to have high-spatial-resolution imagery and obtain sufficient spectral resolution for all points in the scene. This goal can be accomplished through spatio-spectral interferometric imaging, which combines the aperture synthesis aspects of a Michelson stellar interferometer with the spectral capabilities of Fourier transform spectroscopy.

Spatio-spectral interferometric imaging can be extended to a wide-field imaging modality, which increases the collecting efficiency of the technique. This is the basis for NASA’s Wide-field Imaging Interferometry Testbed (WIIT). For such an interferometer, there are two light collecting apertures separated by a variable distance known as the baseline length. The optical path in one of the arms of the interferometer is variable, while the other path delay is fixed. The beams from both apertures are subsequently combined and imaged onto a detector. For a fixed baseline length, the result is many low-spatial-resolution images at a slew of optical path differences, and the process is repeated for many different baseline lengths and orientations. Image processing and synthesis techniques are required to reduce the large dataset into a single high-spatial-resolution hyperspectral image.

Our contributions to spatio-spectral interferometry include various aspects of theory, simulation, image synthesis, and processing of experimental data, with the end goal of better understanding the nature of the technique. We present the theory behind the measurement model for spatio-spectral interferometry, as well as the direct approach to image synthesis. We have developed a pipeline to preprocess experimental data to remove unwanted signatures in the data and register all image measurements to a single orientation, which leverages information about the optical system’s point spread function. In an experimental setup, such as WIIT, the reference frame for the path difference measured for each baseline is unknown and must be accounted for. To overcome this obstacle, we created a phase referencing technique that leverages point sources within the scene of known separation in order to recover unknown information regarding the measurements in a laboratory setting. We also provide a method that allows for the measurement of spatially and spectrally complicated scenes with WIIT by decomposing them prior to scene projection.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Fienup, James R.
Commitee: Alonso, Miguel A., Leisawitz, David T., Zavislan, James M.
School: University of Rochester
Department: Engineering and Applied Sciences
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-B 80/03(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Computational physics, Physics, Optics
Keywords: Double-Fourier, Hyperspectral, Image synthesis, Interferometry, Simulation, Spatio-spectral
Publication Number: 10936092
ISBN: 9780438568068
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