Skip to main content
Simulation of Anisoplanatic Imaging through Optical Turbulence Using Numerical Wave Propagation with New Validation Analysis
Optical Engineering
  • Russell C. Hardie, University of Dayton
  • Jonathan D. Power, Air Force Research Laboratory
  • Daniel A. LeMaster, Air Force Research Laboratory
  • Douglas R. Droege, L-3 Communications Cincinnati Electronics
  • Szymon Gladysz, Fraunhofer Institute of Optronics, System Technologies and Image Exploitation
  • Santasri Bose-Pillai, Air Force Institute of Technology
Document Type
Publication Date

We present a numerical wave propagation method for simulating imaging of an extended scene under anisoplanatic conditions. While isoplanatic simulation is relatively common, few tools are specifically designed for simulating the imaging of extended scenes under anisoplanatic conditions. We provide a complete description of the proposed simulation tool, including the wave propagation method used. Our approach computes an array of point spread functions (PSFs) for a two-dimensional grid on the object plane. The PSFs are then used in a spatially varying weighted sum operation, with an ideal image, to produce a simulated image with realistic optical turbulence degradation. The degradation includes spatially varying warping and blurring. To produce the PSF array, we generate a series of extended phase screens. Simulated point sources are numerically propagated from an array of positions on the object plane, through the phase screens, and ultimately to the focal plane of the simulated camera. Note that the optical path for each PSF will be different, and thus, pass through a different portion of the extended phase screens. These different paths give rise to a spatially varying PSF to produce anisoplanatic effects. We use a method for defining the individual phase screen statistics that we have not seen used in previous anisoplanatic simulations. We also present a validation analysis. In particular, we compare simulated outputs with the theoretical anisoplanatic tilt correlation and a derived differential tilt variance statistic. This is in addition to comparing the long- and short-exposure PSFs and isoplanatic angle. We believe this analysis represents the most thorough validation of an anisoplanatic simulation to date. The current work is also unique that we simulate and validate both constant and varying refractive index structure function -- C2n(z) -- profiles. Furthermore, we simulate sequences with both temporally independent and temporally correlated turbulence effects. Temporal correlation is introduced by generating even larger extended phase screens and translating this block of screens in front of the propagation area. Our validation analysis shows an excellent match between the simulation statistics and the theoretical predictions. Thus, we think this tool can be used effectively to study optical anisoplanatic turbulence and to aid in the development of image restoration methods.

Document Version
Published Version

Published by SPIE under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. Distribution or reproduction of this work in whole or in part requires full attribution of the original publication, including its DOI.

Peer Reviewed
  • atmospheric turbulence,
  • optical turbulence,
  • anisoplanatic,
  • simulation,
  • optical wave propagation
Citation Information
Russell C. Hardie, Jonathan D. Power, Daniel A. LeMaster, Douglas R. Droege, et al.. "Simulation of Anisoplanatic Imaging through Optical Turbulence Using Numerical Wave Propagation with New Validation Analysis" Optical Engineering Vol. 56 Iss. 7 (2017)
Available at: