Friday, November 11, 2022

Nature paper on an aberration correcting "meta-image" sensor

A new paper in Nature titled "An integrated imaging sensor for aberration-corrected 3D photography" by Wu et al. from Tsinghua University presents a new meta-optics based aberration correcting image sensor. They also show several applications such as optical flow and depth imaging in addition to atmospheric aberration correction.

The full paper is open access:

Abstract: Planar digital image sensors facilitate broad applications in a wide range of areas and the number of pixels has scaled up rapidly in recent years. However, the practical performance of imaging systems is fundamentally limited by spatially nonuniform optical aberrations originating from imperfect lenses or environmental disturbances. Here we propose an integrated scanning light-field imaging sensor, termed a meta-imaging sensor, to achieve high-speed aberration-corrected three-dimensional photography for universal applications without additional hardware modifications. Instead of directly detecting a two-dimensional intensity projection, the meta-imaging sensor captures extra-fine four-dimensional light-field distributions through a vibrating coded microlens array, enabling flexible and precise synthesis of complex-field-modulated images in post-processing. Using the sensor, we achieve high-performance photography up to a gigapixel with a single spherical lens without a data prior, leading to orders-of-magnitude reductions in system capacity and costs for optical imaging. Even in the presence of dynamic atmosphere turbulence, the meta-imaging sensor enables multisite aberration correction across 1,000 arcseconds on an 80-centimetre ground-based telescope without reducing the acquisition speed, paving the way for high-resolution synoptic sky surveys. Moreover, high-density accurate depth maps can be retrieved simultaneously, facilitating diverse applications from autonomous driving to industrial inspections.




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