Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

Richard K. Martin, PhD


The purpose of this research effort is to improve and characterize range estimation in a three-dimensional FLASH LAser Detection And Ranging (3D FLASH LADAR) by investigating spatial dimension blurring effects. The myriad of emerging applications for 3D FLASH LADAR both as primary and supplemental sensor necessitate superior performance including accurate range estimates. Along with range information, this sensor also provides an imaging or laser vision capability. Consequently, accurate range estimates would also greatly aid in image quality of a target or remote scene under interrogation. Unlike previous efforts, this research accounts for pixel coupling by defining the range image mathematical model as a convolution between the system spatial impulse response and the object (target or remote scene) at a particular range slice. Using this model, improved range estimation is possible by object restoration from the data observations. Object estimation is principally performed by deriving a blind deconvolution Generalized Expectation Maximization (GEM) algorithm with the range determined from the estimated object by a normalized correlation method. Theoretical derivations and simulation results are verified with experimental data of a bar target taken from a 3D FLASH LADAR system in a laboratory environment. Additionally, among other factors, range separation estimation variance is a function of two LADAR design parameters (range sampling interval and transmitted pulse-width), which can be optimized using the expected range resolution between two point sources. Using both CRB theory and an unbiased estimator, an investigation is accomplished that finds the optimal pulse-width for several range sampling scenarios using a range resolution metric.

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