Development and application of spherically curved charge-coupled device imagers
April 1, 2015
Appl. Opt., Vol. 54, No. 10, 1 April 2015, pp. 3072-82.
Operation of a CCD imager on a curved focal surface offers advantages to flat focal planes, especially for lightweight, relatively simple optical systems. The first advantage is that the modulation transfer function can approach diffraction-limited performance for a spherical focal surface employed in large field-of-view or large-format imagers. The second advantage is that a curved focal surface maintains more uniform illumination as a function of radius from the field center. Examples of applications of curved imagers, described here, include a small compact imager and the large curved array used in the Space Surveillance Telescope. The operational characteristics and mechanical limits of an imager deformed to a 15 mm radius are also described.