Seeing clearly with a camera or focusing a laser beam normally uses a precisely formed lens or mirror. However, even the most precisely formed lens or mirror cannot image or focus light through a scattering medium, such as fog, turbid water or animal tissue. We are striving to use the advanced shaping of optical beams in tandem with machine learning AI to both image and listen in these complex environments. Specifically we aim to use even painted walls as mirrors with which to look around corners, or measure tiny amounts of laser light from which we can detect harmful gases or pick up subtle acoustic signals.
One example of a complex medium is an optical fibre used for guiding light (Image on right). Normally the light leaving these fibres creates random patterns (left), but precise inverse shaping of the beam allows instead it to be brought to a near perfect focus without any need of a lens or mirror (right).
Prof Miles Padgett
Dr Jacopo Bertolotti
Prof Daniele Faccio