New Technique to Receive Sharper Images

A new imaging method that could help to build more powerful microscopes and other optical devices by producing sharper images and a wider field of view has been developed by Princeton researches. The research was led by Jason Fleischer, assistant professor of electrical engineering and co-written with two graduate students Christopher Barsi and Wenjie Wan. The new method takes advantage of the unusual properties of nonlinear optical materials in which light rays mix with each other in complex ways. Thanks to the mixing of rays, information that would otherwise be lost manages to reach the detector. Therefore this picture would be rich in detail but it would also be distorted. To capture this otherwise lost visual information, the researchers used a hologram. The hologram is a special type of photograph which records „phase“ – a light property which measures the time and location of a wave peak. They also combined data from a normal camera. Then they created a simplified flow of light through a nonlinear material and developed a computer algorithm that takes the distorted image and works backwards to calculate the visual information at every point in space between the image and the object.
www.princeton.edu

An object illuminated by light reflects rays in many different directions (gray arrows). Left: With a normal lens, some rays are captured and refract towards a camera while others are missed, resulting in a blurry image with a limited field of view. Right: The new method uses a nonlinear material. The original rays are altered and new rays (red) are generated. The resulting picture is scrambled, but a computer algorithm can undo the mixing and yield a sharp, wide-field image.

An object illuminated by light reflects rays in many different directions (gray arrows). Left: With a normal lens, some rays are captured and refract towards a camera while others are missed, resulting in a blurry image with a limited field of view. Right: The new method uses a nonlinear material. The original rays are altered and new rays (red) are generated. The resulting picture is scrambled, but a computer algorithm can undo the mixing and yield a sharp, wide-field image. (Image: Christopher Barsi)

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