Computational imaging for surveillance systems

Lead Research Organisation: University of Glasgow
Department Name: School of Physics and Astronomy


The aim of the proposed PhD project is to develop and apply computational imaging techniques to provide improved Size, Weight Power and Cost (SWaP-C) and new performance capabilities for military imaging systems. In traditional imaging systems the cost of lenses, manufactured from high-cost semiconductors such as germanium contributes significantly to overall system weight and cost. Several examples of how SWAP-C can be improved by use of computational imaging have been identified during previous research conducted by Harvey's group in Glasgow and Qioptiq. Two approaches are: (a) the use of wavefront coding, a technique involving optical encoding during image formation followed by computational decoding, to reduce the sensitivity of image generation to optical aberrations enabling simpler, more compact and reduced-weight imaging systems, and (b) multiple-aperture techniques using single or multiple detector arrays combined with computational image construction; essentially this enables replacing the traditional approach of employing a single complex lens an array of simpler lenses to achieve functionality that is not otherwise achievable, such as extreme foveal ratios, very compact imaging systems and reduced weight.
Wavefront coding
We have demonstrated that wavefront coding can provide a SWaP-C advantage but with a penalty of degraded SNR. Two potential solutions to this problem are (a) the use of variable wavefront coding using rotational phase masks (b) agile frame-to-frame integration. Both techniques have been demonstrated in principle in the visible by Harvey's group, but have yet to be applied at thermal IR wavelengths for practical imaging systems.
Multi-aperture imaging enables imaging systems with extreme fields of view or distortions so that magnification and angular resolution (pixel-limited) is much greater (a factor of two to five) at boresight than for the periphery. Modest degrees of distortion can be achieved with conventional optics but requires significant optical complexity and factors of >2 are not possible. We will develop theory, mathematical models and algorithms for foveal imaging systems based around the following concepts that we have proposed.

Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/N509668/1 30/09/2016 29/09/2021
2188566 Studentship EP/N509668/1 02/10/2016 29/04/2020 Laura Valerie Cowan
Description The keys findings for this award that have been achieved include;
- the development of an algorithm that super resolves low-resolution infrared images,
- the development of a 360 degree panoramic infrared imaging system
- a feasibility of infrared panoramic imaging using this system,
- a feasibility study into 3D scene mapping from low resolution infrared images through stereoscopic passive ranging and integral imaging,
- a feasibility study into active threat detection using a single photon avalanche diode which has been used to detect breathing.
These finding have been presented to an academic audience at an international conference and have been presented to a non-academic audience - the industry funders of the award.
Exploitation Route The outcomes of this award will be taken forward by the industry funders Qioptiq, with the aim to directly integrate the outcomes into the Qiopitq productline.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine

Description As this PhD is part funded by Industry, there has been a constant feeback of research outcomes. The research has been presented to Qioptiq (the industry funders) multiple times over the course of several years.
First Year Of Impact 2016
Sector Aerospace, Defence and Marine
Impact Types Economic

Description Lord Kelvin Postgraduate Scholarship Fund
Amount £995 (GBP)
Organisation University of Glasgow 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 05/2019 
End 12/2019
Description Research Student Conference Fund
Amount £150 (GBP)
Organisation Institute of Physics (IOP) 
Sector Learned Society
Country United Kingdom
Start 05/2019 
End 07/2019
Description Explorathon 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact A group of researchers from my research group and I hosted a table at the 2019 Explorathon at the Glasgow science centre. Parents and Children were reached, along with other researchers from a wide range of disciplines who were also presenting. I presented a 3D printed thermal camera which was closely related to my research.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
Description Glasgow Science Festival 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact I was part of a group of researchers from my research group, who presented a range of imaging technologies at the Glasgow science festival.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019