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Optical Sources, Detectors, and Systems: Fundamentals and Applications

Optical Sources, Detectors, and Systems: Fundamentals and Applications

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Optical Sources, Detectors, and Systems: Fundamentals and Applications

297 página
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Lançado em:
Jul 6, 1995


Optical Sources, Detectors, and Systems presents a unified approach, from the applied engineering point of view, to radiometry, optical devices, sources, and receivers. One of the most important and unique features of the book is that it combines modern optics, electric circuits, and system analysis into a unified, comprehensive treatment.

The text provides physical concepts together with numerous data for sources and systems and offers basic analytical tools for a host of practical applications. Convenient reference sources, such as a glossary with explanatory text for specialized optical terminology, are included. Also, there are many illustrative examples and problems with solutions. The book covers many important, diverse areas such as medical thermography, fiber optical communications, and CCD cameras. It also explains topics such asD *, NEP, f number, RA product, BER, shot noise, and more.

This volume can be considered an essential reference for research and practical scientists working with optical and infrared systems, as well as a text for graduate-level courses on optoelectronics, optical sources and systems, and optical detection. Aproblem solution manual for instructors who wish to adopt this text is available.

  • Provides a unified treatment of optical sources, detectors, and applications
  • Explains D *, NEP, f number, RA product, BER, shot noise, and more
  • Contains numerous illustrative examples and exercises with solutions
  • Extensively illustrated with more than 90 drawings and graphs
Lançado em:
Jul 6, 1995

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Optical Sources, Detectors, and Systems - Robert H. Kingston

Chapter 1

Blackbody Radiation, Image Plane Intensity, and Units

Optical and infrared sources are of two general types, either incoherent such as thermal radiation or coherent such as that from a laser. Here we first treat the classical thermal or blackbody radiation emitted by any body at finite temperature. In particular we are most interested in room temperature radiation, that from a body at 300 K, and solar radiation corresponding to the sun’s temperature of 5800 K. Blackbody radiation is incoherent in the sense that there is an infinite set of optical frequencies present and the phase of each constituent frequency term is a random function of the direction of propagation. In contrast, the coherent radiation obtainable from a laser can be treated as essentially monochromatic or single frequency with uniform phase over a plane or spherical wavefront. Actually, the coherence of a source is a matter of degree and may be measured in a quantitative manner (Goodman, 1985; Saleh and Teich, 1991, Ch. 10). Although we call thermal radiation incoherent, if we pass it through a pinhole of diameter less than the radiation wavelength, the resultant spherical wave is spatially coherent (but very low in intensity). Similarly, if we pass thermal radiation through a narrowband frequency filter it becomes temporally partially coherent.

Following our treatment of blackbody radiation, we derive the expected intensity in an optical image plane, a treatment valid for both a blackbody radiation source and any type of radiation scattered from a diffuse surface. We then discuss numerical values and introduce a convenient set of units and techniques for calculating intensities and powers, concluding with a brief discussion of the lumen. The results of this chapter are essential for understanding the detection and measurement of thermal or solar radiation. In addition, when we wish to detect laser radiation, we shall use the results to calculate the effects of the background thermal or solar radiation on detection efficiency. We shall also use our theoretical approach as a key element of the treatment of laser action in Chapter 2 and thermally induced electrical noise in Chapter 4.

1.1 Planck’s Law

By convention and definition blackbody radiation describes the intensity and spectral distribution of the optical and infrared power emitted by an ideal black or completely absorbing material at a uniform temperature T. The radiation laws are derived by considering a completely enclosed container whose walls are uniformly maintained at temperature T, then calculating the internal energy density and spectral distribution using thermal statistics. Consideration of the equilibrium interaction of the radiation with the chamber walls then leads to a general expression for the emission from a gray or colored material with nonzero reflectance. The treatment yields not only the spectral but the angular distribution of the emitted radiation.

Although we usually refer to blackbody radiation as classical, its mathematical formulation is based on the quantum properties of electromagnetic radiation. We call it classical since the form and the general behavior were well known long before the correct physics was available to explain the phenomenon. We derive the formulas using Planck’s original hypothesis, and it is in this derivation, known as Planck’s law, that the quantum nature of radiation first became apparent. We start by considering a large enclosure containing electromagnetic radiation and calculating the energy density of the contained radiation as a function of the optical frequency v. To perform this calculation we assume that the radiation is in equilibrium with the walls of the chamber, that there are a calculable number of modes or standing-wave resonances of the electromagnetic field, and that the energy per mode is determined by thermal statistics, in particular by the Boltzmann relation


where p(U) is the probability of finding a mode with energy, U; k is the Boltzmann constant; T, the absolute temperature; and A is a normalization constant.


The Boltzmann distribution will be used frequently in this text since it has such universal application in thermal statistics. As an interesting example, let us consider the variation of atmospheric pressure with altitude under the assumption of constant temperature. The pressure, at constant temperature, is proportional to the density and thus to the probability of finding an air molecule at the energy U associated with altitude h, given by U = mgh, with m the molecular mass and g the acceleration of gravity. Thus the variation of pressure with altitude may be written

and the atmospheric pressure should drop to 1/e or 37% at an altitude of h = kT/mg. Using 28 as the molecular weight of nitrogen, the principal constituent, yields

This is quite close to the nominal observed value of 8 km, determined by the more complicated true molecular distribution and a significant negative temperature gradient. We discuss a simpler way of calculating energies in section 1.5.

Returning to the chamber, each mode corresponds to a resonant frequency determined by the cavity dimensions. In the original treatments, each mode was considered to be a harmonic oscillator having, as we shall see, an average thermal energy kT. Before we start counting the number of these modes versus optical frequency, let us first verify this average energy of a single mode according to Boltzmann’s formula. First of all, we know that an ensemble of identical modes, either in time or over many systems, must have a total probability distribution over all energies U, which adds to unity, i.e.,


The average energy of the mode is the integral over the product of the energy and the probability of that energy and is


where we have used the mathematical relationship,


We have thus obtained the standard classical result, which says that the energy per mode or degree of freedom for a system in thermal equilibrium has an average value of kT, the thermal energy. Soon we shall find that the number of allowed electromagnetic modes of a rectangular enclosure, or any enclosure for that matter, increases indefinitely with frequency. If each of these modes had energy kT, then the total energy would increase to infinity as the frequency approached infinity or the wavelength went to zero. This ultraviolet catastrophe as it was called, led to the proposal by Planck that at frequency, v, a mode was only allowed discrete energies separated by the energy increment, ΔU = hv. The value of the quantity, h, Planck’s constant, was determined by fitting this modified theory to experimental measurements of thermal radiation.

Figure 1.1 shows the difference between the classical continuous Boltzmann distribution, (a), and a discrete or quantized distribution, (b). In the continuous distribution the area under the probability curve p(U) is equal to unity. In the discrete or quantized case the allowed energies as shown by the bars are separated by ΔU = hv and the sum of the heights of all bars becomes unity. We may state this mathematically by writing the energy of the nth state as



In a similar manner we may calculate the average energy, U(v), by summing the products of the nth state energy and its probability of occupation. Then


and using the identities,


we finally obtain:


This average energy for an electromagnetic mode at a single specific frequency, v, now has a markedly different behavior from the classical result of Eq. (1.3) when the energy hv becomes comparable to or greater than the thermal energy kT. In the two frequency limits, Eq. (1.8) goes to kT for low frequencies while it becomes hve-hv/kT as the frequency becomes very large. Of major significance is that the ratio of hv to kT for visible radiation at room temperature is of the order of one hundred, as we will see when we discuss the values of the various constants. As a result, the average energy per mode at visible frequencies is much less than kT.

Figure 1.1 (a) Continuous and (b) discrete Boltzmann distribution with ΔU = hv = kT/4.

The behavior of U(v) can be understood by examination of Figure 1.1. As the spacing of the discrete energies becomes smaller and smaller, the distribution of energies approaches the classical form, while as the spacing increases, the probability of the mode being in the zero-energy state approaches unity, and the occupancy of the next state, n = 1 or larger, becomes negligibly small, and thus U (v) goes to

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