Active-tracking scaling laws using the noise-equivalent angle due to speckle

Derek J. Burrell, Mark F. Spencer, Melissa K. Beason, Ronald G. Driggers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


It is well known to system engineers that speckle imposes a limitation on active-tracking performance, but scaling laws that quantify this limitation do not currently exist in the peer-reviewed literature. Additionally, existing models lack validation through either simulation or experimentation. With these points in mind, this paper formulates closed-form expressions that accurately predict the noise-equivalent angle due to speckle. The analysis separately treats both well-resolved and unresolved cases for circular and square apertures. When compared with the numerical results from wave-optics simulations, the analytical results show excellent agreement to a track-error limitation of (1/3)λ/D, where λ/D is the aperture diffraction angle. As a result, this paper creates validated scaling laws for system engineers that need to account for active-tracking performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)904-913
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the Optical Society of America A: Optics and Image Science, and Vision
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition


Dive into the research topics of 'Active-tracking scaling laws using the noise-equivalent angle due to speckle'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this