Signal modeling of turbulence-distorted imagery

S. Susan Young, Ronald G. Driggers, Keith Krapels, Richard L. Espinola, Joseph P. Reynolds, Jae Cha

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

2 Scopus citations


Understanding turbulence effects on wave propagation and imaging systems has been an active research area for more than 50 years. Conventional atmospheric optics methods use statistical models to analyze image degradation effects that are caused by turbulence. In this paper, we intend to understand atmospheric turbulence effects using a deterministic signal processing and imaging theory point of view and modeling. The model simulates the formed imagery by a lens by tracing the optical rays from the target through a band of turbulence. We examine the nature of the turbulence-degraded image, and identify its characteristics as the parameters of the band of turbulence, e.g., its width, angle, and index of refraction, are varied. Image degradation effects due to turbulence, such as image blurring and image dancing, are revealed by this signal modeling. We show that in fact these phenomena can be related not only to phase errors in the frequency domain of the image but also a 2D modulation effect in the image spectrum. Results with simulated and realistic data are provided.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationInfrared Imaging Systems
Subtitle of host publicationDesign, Analysis, Modeling, and Testing XX
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes
EventInfrared Imaging Systems: Design, Analysis, Modeling, and Testing XX - Orlando, FL, United States
Duration: Apr 14 2009Apr 16 2009

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


ConferenceInfrared Imaging Systems: Design, Analysis, Modeling, and Testing XX
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityOrlando, FL


  • Atmospheric turbulence effects
  • Fourier analysis
  • Imaging theory
  • Signal modeling
  • Turbulence-distorted imagery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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