Camera uses computing techniques to create 3D images in pitch dark

11/29/2013 - 00:00

Talk about taking a dim view of things. Researchers have obtained ultrasharp images of weakly illuminated objects using a bare minimum of photons: mathematically stitching together information from single particles of light recorded by each pixel of a solid-state detector.

The achievement is likely to support studies of fragile biological materials, such as the human eye, that could be damaged or destroyed by higher levels of illumination. The development could also have applications for military surveillance, such as in a spy camera that records a scene with a minimum of illumination to elude detection.

To create detailed images using single photons, electrical engineer Ahmed Kirmani of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge and his colleagues developed an algorithm that takes into account correlations between neighbouring parts of an illuminated object as well as the physics of low-light measurements. The researchers describe their work online today in Science1.