Statistical characterization of speckle noise in coherent imaging systems

L. Yaroslavsky*, A. Shefler

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Speckle noise imposes fundamental limitation on image quality in coherent radiation based imaging and optical metrology systems. Speckle noise phenomena are associated with properties of objects to diffusely scatter irradiation and with the fact that in recording the wave field, a number of signal distortions inevitably occur due to technical limitations inherent to hologram sensors. The statistical theory of speckle noise was developed with regard to only limited resolving power of coherent imaging devices. It is valid only asymptotically as much as the central limit theorem of the probability theory can be applied. In applications this assumption is not always applicable. Moreover, in treating speckle noise problem one should also consider other sources of the hologram deterioration. In the paper, statistical properties of speckle due to the limitation of hologram size, dynamic range and hologram signal quantization are studied by Monte-Carlo simulation for holograms recorded in near and far diffraction zones. The simulation experiments have shown that, for limited resolving power of the imaging system, widely accepted opinion that speckle contrast is equal to one holds only for rather severe level of the hologram size limitation. For moderate limitations, speckle contrast changes gradually from zero for no limitation to one for limitation to less then about 20% of hologram size. The results obtained for the limitation of the hologram sensor's dynamic range and hologram signal quantization reveal that speckle noise due to these hologram signal distortions is not multiplicative and is directly associated with the severity of the limitation and quantization. On the base of the simulation results, analytical models are suggested.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175-182
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - 2003
EventOptical Measurement Systems for Industrial Inspection III - Munich, Germany
Duration: 23 Jun 200326 Jun 2003


  • Coherent imaging
  • Digital holography
  • Speckle noise


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