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All-optical complex field imaging using diffractive processors

Jingxi LiYuhang LiTianyi GanChe-Yung ShenMona JarrahiAydogan Ozcan
Jan 2024
Complex field imaging, which captures both the amplitude and phase information of input optical fields or objects, can offer rich structural insights into samples, such as their absorption and refractive index distributions. However, conventional image sensors are intensity-based and inherently lack the capability to directly measure the phase distribution of a field. This limitation can be overcome using interferometric or holographic methods, often supplemented by iterative phase retrieval algorithms, leading to a considerable increase in hardware complexity and computational demand. Here, we present a complex field imager design that enables snapshot imaging of both the amplitude and quantitative phase information of input fields using an intensity-based sensor array without any digital processing. Our design utilizes successive deep learning-optimized diffractive surfaces that are structured to collectively modulate the input complex field, forming two independent imaging channels that perform amplitude-to-amplitude and phase-to-intensity transformations between the input and output planes within a compact optical design, axially spanning ~100 wavelengths. The intensity distributions of the output fields at these two channels on the sensor plane directly correspond to the amplitude and quantitative phase profiles of the input complex field, eliminating the need for any digital image reconstruction algorithms. We experimentally validated the efficacy of our complex field diffractive imager designs through 3D-printed prototypes operating at the terahertz spectrum, with the output amplitude and phase channel images closely aligning with our numerical simulations. We envision that this complex field imager will have various applications in security, biomedical imaging, sensing and material science, among others.
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