New optical inversion strategy to descramble light propagation through multimode optical fibers

New optical inversion strategy to descramble light propagation through multimode optical fibers

Multimode optical fibers (MMFs) are very thin strands of glass that are ubiquitous in light guiding applications. Their development has gone hand in hand with the enormous growth in the rapid transmission of information across the world. The small footprint of MMFs also makes them attractive candidates for next-generation microendoscopes, to provide optical microscopy deep in the body. However, the practical information capacity of MMFs is limited by modal dispersion – a mechanism that scrambles spatial information propagating through MMFs. Thus, the direct transmission of images through MMFs is extremely difficult: an image projected on one end is unrecognizably blurred by the time light reaches the other end. Pioneering research over the past decade has shown how optical interference caused by MMFs can be measured and cancelled. Now, a team of researchers from the University of Exeter and the Leibniz Institute of Photonic Technology have built on that idea and come up with a new imaging strategy, called optical inversion.

The research was published in Intelligent Computing on November 17.

“The majority of imaging techniques demonstrated so far rely on raster scanning or sequential pattern projection, which essentially means light is deciphered one spatial mode at a time.” Lead author Dr Unė Būtaitė said: “This currently impedes the delivery of wide-field imaging techniques via MMFs. For example, there is currently no way to achieve wide-field super-resolution imaging at the tip of an MMF – which would be a very desirable way to gain a deeper understanding of the biological processes inside the body.

To overcome this problem, researchers propose and design a passive optical device, called an optical undulator. Dr. Būtaitė explained: “Our undulator can be understood as a tailor-made scattering medium, designed to be complementary to an MMF to cancel out its optical effects.” Spatial information is scrambled after light from the scene travels through MMF, but the optical inverter scrambles the light exactly the opposite of the fiber, allowing the scene to be reimaged passively, and globally. optically in a few nanoseconds.

Different scenarios were simulated to study the performance of the researcher’s optical inverter design. The results show that an optical undulator has the potential to achieve single wide-field imaging and super-resolution imaging via MMFs. Additionally, by incorporating optical memory effects into its design, the optical inverter can dynamically adapt to see through flexible fibers. Dr David Phillips, lead author of the project, said: ‘The main advantage of our concept is that it makes possible any form of wide-field microscopy at the end of a thin strand of MMF hair – which can potentially be loaded into a needle to see scenes deep inside the body. This includes powerful new imaging techniques such as location-based super-resolution imaging, as well as other emerging forms of parallelized super-resolution microscopy, structured illumination microscopy, and objective light sheet microscopy. unique. Additionally, single-shot wide-field imaging at any distance beyond the distal end of a short length of MMF also becomes possible.

In the future, the researchers predict other applications for this research. Dr Phillips said: “The optical inversion strategy we have described here can potentially be extended to decipher light that has passed through other objects, such as photonic crystal waveguides, photonic lanterns or biological tissues. Finally, we anticipate that all-optical inversion of scattered light will find a range of applications beyond optical imaging: benefiting the fields of mode division multiplexing for high-capacity optical communications, as well as quantum cryptography and classical and quantum optical computing. We are excited to see where this technology is going! »

Article reference: Unė G. Būtaitė, Hlib Kupianskyi, Tomáš Čižmár, David B. Phillips, “How to build the “optical inverse” of a multimode fiber”, Intelligent Computing, vol. 2022, Paper ID 9816026, 13 pages, 2022.

/Public release. This material from the original organization/authors may be ad hoc in nature, edited for clarity, style and length. The views and opinions expressed are those of the author or authors. See in full here.

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