Fundamental limit of resolving two point sources limited by an arbitrary point spread function

Ronan Kerviche, Saikat Guha, Amit Ashok

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Estimating the angular separation between two incoherently radiating monochromatic point sources is a canonical toy problem to quantify spatial resolution in imaging. In recent work, Tsang et al. showed, using a Fisher Information analysis, that Rayleigh’s resolution limit is just an artifact of the conventional wisdom of intensity measurement in the image plane. They showed that the optimal sensitivity of estimating the angle is only a function of the total photons collected during the camera’s integration time but entirely independent of the angular separation itself no matter how small it is, and found the information-optimal mode basis, intensity detection in which achieves the aforesaid performance. We extend the above analysis, which was done for a Gaussian point spread function (PSF) to a hard-aperture pupil proving the information optimality of image-plane sinc-Bessel modes, and generalize the result further to an arbitrary PSF. We obtain new counterintuitive insights on energy vs. information content in spatial modes, and extend the Fisher Information analysis to exact calculations of minimum mean squared error, both for Gaussian and hard aperture pupils.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalUnknown Journal
StatePublished - Jan 17 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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