Research funded by the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research could lead to advancements in data encryption and wide-area, high-resolution photography. The researchers, led by Princeton University's Jason W. Fleischer, used an optical device called a nonlinear crystal, instead of an ordinary lens, to capture an image.
In traditional photography, every image is made of a collection of light waves and a lens that refracts the waves toward a detector. However, in the nonlinear material, the waves "talk" to each other and interact, creating new waves and distorting themselves. The distortion is a type of physical encryption, though it would be useless if it could not be reversed. The researchers' algorithm provides a way of undoing the distortion to recover the original signal. The reversing algorithm also can be used to capture information that is lost by other imaging systems.
The researchers obtained photos of different objects using the image-capturing equipment, and in every case the images consistently have a wide view and high resolution. Fleischer and the researchers are now looking for new materials to increase the level of wave mixing for stronger, faster interactions at lower light levels.
From Air Force Office of Scientific Research
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Abstracts Copyright © 2009 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA
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