ZoWie » Sun Oct 22, 2017 8:53 am wrote:
Astronomers used to be way ahead of me on how to do this kind of thing. They had ways to pre-sensitize film plates, and all manner of stuff they did. Now it's all digital sensors, though.
Digital sensors are prone to noise accumulation too, but the best image engines have ways of lowering this.
Aside from good design and careful control of the optical elements and layout, the primary way to improve the performance of solid-state (or other quantum mechanical-level) detectors (of radiation) is through cooling (typically with liquid nitrogen or liquid helium).
The primary control factor in reducing "noise" in such detectors is through reduction in temperature. Room temperature on earth is about 300 Kelvin (K); liquid nitrogen is at about 77 K; and liquid helium is at about 4 K.
Temperature is one of those few quantities in physics for which there exists absolute limits, as opposed to only relative changes (e.g. space and time). The notion of "zero temperature" is that there is no motion (which of course is impossible for quantum mechanical harmonic oscillators, but whatever).
The mathematical modeling of noise shows an asymptotic approach towards "zero" noise as the temperature is reduced to absolute zero. (IIRC, the reduction goes as the square root of the temperature, so a much slower than even linear reduction in temperature.)
One of the guys who laid the (mathematical) foundations for such understanding about how the natural world works with regard to such processes committed suicide. That was Boltzmann.
The other guy involved in such theoretical considerations also had a pretty big hand in creating the first unified theory in physics (electricity and magnetism). That was Maxwell.
Physicists have immortalized Lambert in various ways. What is not so obvious, but I can better perceive it now, is that he laid the foundations for (geometric) optics, such as would be encountered by advanced students today in one of the most highly regarded physics textbooks ever: https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Principles_of_Optics
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