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Resolution of point sources of light as analyzed by quantum detection theory

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The resolvability of point sources of incoherent thermal light is analyzed by quantum detection theory in terms of two hypothesis-testing problems. In the first, the observer must decide whether there are two sources of equal radiant power at given locations, or whether there is only one source of twice the power located midway between them. In the second problem, either one, but not both, of two point sources is radiating, and the observer must decide which it is. The decisions are based on optimum processing of the electromagnetic field at the aperture of au optical instrument. In both problems the density operators of the field under the two hypotheses do not commute. The error probabilities, determined as functions of the separation of the points and the mean number of received photons, characterize the ultimate resolvability of the sources.

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IEEE Transactions on Information Theory  (Volume:19 ,  Issue: 4 )