Effects of aerosol modulation transfer function on target identification

Steve Butrimas, Ronald Driggers, Gerald Holst, Norman S. Kopeika, Arkadi Zilberman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Atmospheric aerosol effects are often overlooked in target acquisition studies. Typically, performance models only consider extinction and turbulence within the prediction processes. The aerosol modulation transfer function (MTF) is included in range acquisition algorithms to determine how scattering and absorption effects change the target identification predictions. We modeled the aerosols as monodisperse water droplets comparable to a tenuous fog or mist. Integrating the aerosol MTF into the system MTF gives the opportunity to utilize the night vision integrated performance model to predict the target identification range with aerosol contributions. The aerosol MTF is a function of range, water droplet composition, wavelength, and aperture size. The analysis focuses on these variables with an emphasis on wavelength dependence to characterize mid-wave and long-wave performance. Results show that the mid-wave systems have a substantial diffraction advantage over long-wave systems. Only in the limit of increasing optical depths do the mid-wave and long-wave performance models begin to converge, verifying that the aerosols can be the limiting factor for target identification.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number073103
JournalOptical Engineering
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • absorption
  • aerosol modulation transfer function
  • imaging performance
  • scattering
  • target identification
  • target task performance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • General Engineering


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