Design of Airborne Large Aperture Infrared Optical System Based on Monocentric Lens.

Jiyan Zhang, Teng Qin, Zhexin Xie, Liting Sun, Zhengyu Lin, Tianhao Cao,Chentao Zhang


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Conventional reconnaissance camera systems have been flown on manned aircraft, where the weight, size, and power requirements are not stringent. However, today, these parameters are important for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). This article provides a solution to the design of airborne large aperture infrared optical systems, based on a monocentric lens that can meet the strict criteria of aerial reconnaissance UAVs for a wide field of view (FOV) and lightness of airborne electro-optical pod cameras. A monocentric lens has a curved image plane, consisting of an array of microsensors, which can provide an image with 368 megapixels over a 100° FOV. We obtained the initial structure of a five-glass (5GS) asymmetric monocentric lens with an air gap, using ray-tracing and global optimization algorithms. According to the design results, the ground sampling distance (GSD) of the system is 0.33 m at 3000 m altitude. The full-field modulation transfer function (MTF) value of the system is more than 0.4 at a Nyquist frequency of 70 lp/mm. We present a primary thermal control method, and the image quality was steady throughout the operating temperature range. This compactness and simple structure fulfill the needs of uncrewed airborne lenses. This work may facilitate the practical application of monocentric lens in UAVs.
large aperture,mid-wave infrared,monocentric lens,optical design,sensor array
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