Super Resolution Imaging: Verification of Theory via Optical Gain

Casey Icenhour, Ainhoa Iglesias


The idea of super resolution, or resolution beyond established and recognized limits, has been a topic of recent debate since John B. Pendry’s 2000 seminal work, “Negative Refraction Makes a Perfect Lens”. In this paper, he proposed the idea that a lens with a negative refractive index would be able to recover evanescent waves, and thus achieve higher resolution. Evanescent waves are light waves that decay soon after they leave the surface of an object, and if they are recovered, more light data can be used in the production of an image. Negative index materials, however, are very expensive and difficult to produce. To alleviate this, optical gain can be used to convert evanescent waves into waves that can propagate. Recent research has shown that the refractive index need not be negative for this to occur; in fact, the presence of gain is all that is required. This project is centered on the verification of this theory, using a Ti:Sapphire lensing assembly with lasers to both cause the amplification and serve as a signal. A method will be used to analyze the output of the lens system, with and without gain being applied. Then the results will be directly compared to show that additional light data exists when the system is under gain. This additional data, when applied against previous research, should be the presence of evanescent wave conversion.


Optics; Gain; Evanescent

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