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Cramér-Rao sensitivity limits for astronomical instruments: implications for interferometer design

Zmuidzinas, Jonas (2003) Cramér-Rao sensitivity limits for astronomical instruments: implications for interferometer design. Journal of the Optical Society of America A, 20 (2). pp. 218-233. ISSN 1084-7529.

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Multiple-telescope interferometry for high-angular-resolution astronomical imaging in the optical–IR–far-IR bands is currently a topic of great scientific interest. The fundamentals that govern the sensitivity of direct-detection instruments and interferometers are reviewed, and the rigorous sensitivity limits imposed by the Cramér–Rao theorem are discussed. Numerical calculations of the Cramér–Rao limit are carried out for a simple example, and the results are used to support the argument that interferometers that have more compact instantaneous beam patterns are more sensitive, since they extract more spatial information from each detected photon. This argument favors arrays with a larger number of telescopes, and it favors all-on-one beam-combining methods as compared with pairwise combination.

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Additional Information:© 2003 Optical Society of America. Received April 24, 2002; revised manuscript received July 23, 2002; accepted September 25, 2002. The author thanks W.C. Danchi, S.H. Moseley, T.G. Phillips, S. Padin, and J.R.P. Angel for useful discussions. He is particularly indebted to one of the referees, whose diligent and thorough reading of the manuscript, detailed suggestions, and numerous comments led to substantial revision and improvement of the paper. The author is grateful for the generous support of Alex Lidow, Caltech Trustee.
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:ZMUjosaa03
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Official Citation:J. Zmuidzinas, "Cramér-Rao sensitivity limits for astronomical instruments: implications for interferometer design," J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 20, 218-233 (2003)
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:10408
Deposited By: Archive Administrator
Deposited On:02 May 2008
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 00:09

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