Jason Fleischer and his colleagues at Princeton University’s Nonlinear Photonics Group (Princeton, NJ, USA; www.princeton.edu) are developing an imaging technique that relies on a nonlinear crystal rather than a standard lens. The research, funded by the Air Force Research Laboratory (Wright-Patterson AFB, OH, USA; www.wpafb.af.mil), may prompt advances in the areas of data encryption and wide-area, high-resolution photography.
The researchers took photos of various objects using a nonlinear, wave-mixing technique and were able to undo the resulting encryption and recover the original signal. They confirmed these findings via an Air Force resolution chart, where (a) is the original image, (b) is the distorted image after passing through the nonlinear crystal, and (c) is the numerically reconstructed image. Potential applications for this technology include optical systems that maintain their field of view as they zoom, sharper microscopes, improved lithography, and dynamic imaging of three-dimensional objects.