Infrared scene projectors (IRSPs) are a key part of performing dynamic testing of infrared (IR) imaging systems. Two important properties of an IRSP system are apparent temperature and thermal resolution. Infrared scene projector technology continues to progress, with several systems capable of producing high apparent temperatures currently available or under development. These systems use different emitter pixel technologies, including resistive arrays, digital micro-mirror devices (DMDs), liquid crystals and LEDs to produce dynamic infrared scenes. A common theme amongst these systems is the specification of the bit depth of the read-in integrated circuit (RIIC) or projector engine, as opposed to specifying the desired thermal resolution as a function of radiance (or apparent temperature). For IRSPs, producing an accurate simulation of a realistic scene or scenario may require simulating radiance values that range over multiple orders of magnitude. Under these conditions, the necessary resolution or "step size" at low temperature values may be much smaller than what is acceptable at very high temperature values. A single bit depth value specified at the RIIC, especially when combined with variable transfer functions between commanded input and radiance output, may not offer the best representation of a customer's desired radiance resolution. In this paper, we discuss some of the various factors that affect thermal resolution of a scene projector system, and propose some specification guidelines regarding thermal resolution to help better define the real needs of an IR scene projector system.

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Infrared Imaging Systems: Design, Analysis, Modeling, and Testing XXVI
Department of Systems and Computer Engineering

LaVeigne, J. (Joe), Franks, G, & Danielson, T. (Tom). (2015). Thermal resolution specification in infrared scene projectors. In Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering. doi:10.1117/12.2177450