Abstract

This paper investigates the relationships between the image-gathering and image-processing systems for minimum mean-squared error estimation of scene characteristics. A stochastic optimization problem is formulated in which the objective is to determine a spatial characteristic of the scene rather than a feature of the already blurred, sampled, and noisy image data. An analytical solution for the optimal characteristic image processor is developed. The Wiener filter for the sampled image case is obtained as a special case, where the desired characteristic is scene restoration. Optimal edge detection is investigated by using ∇2G as the desired characteristic, where G is a two-dimensional Gaussian distribution function. It is shown that the optimal edge detector compensates for the blurring introduced by the image-gathering optics, and, notably, that it is not circularly symmetric. The lack of circular symmetry is largely due to the geometric effects of the sampling lattice used in image acquisition. The optimal image-gathering optical transfer function is also investigated and the results of a sensitivity analysis are shown.

© 1986 Optical Society of America

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