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Algorithms and Array Design Criteria for Robust Imaging in Interferometry

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Technical Report

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MIT Lincoln Laboratory Lexington United States

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Optical interferometry is a technique for obtaining high-resolution imagery of a distant target by interfering light from multiple telescopes. Image restoration from interferometric measurements poses a unique set of challenges. The first challenge is that the measurement set provides only a sparse-sampling of the objects Fourier Transform and hence image formation from these measurements is an inherently ill-posed inverse problem. Secondly, atmospheric turbulence causes severe distortion of the phase of the Fourier samples. We develop array design conditions for unique Fourier phase recovery, as well as a comprehensive algorithmic framework based on the notion of redundant-spaced-calibration RSC,which together achieve reliable image reconstruction in spite of these challenges. Within this framework, we see that classical interferometric observables such as the spectrum and closure phase can limit sensitivity, and that generalized notions of these observables can improve both theoretical and empirical performance. Our framework leverages techniques from lattice theory to resolve integer phase ambiguities in the interferometric phase measurements, and from graph theory, to select a reliable set of generalized observables. We analyze the expected shot-noise-limited performance of our algorithm for both pairwise and Fizeau interferometric architectures and corroborate this analysis with simulation results. We apply techniques from the field of compressed sensing to perform image reconstruction from the estimates of the objects Fourier coefficients. The end result is a comprehensive strategy to achieve well-posed and easily-predictable reconstruction performance in optical interferometry.

Subject Categories:

  • Optics
  • Numerical Mathematics

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