Imaging with a small number of photons

Morris, P. A., Aspden, R. S., Bell, J. E.C., Boyd, R. W. and Padgett, M. J. (2015) Imaging with a small number of photons. Nature Communications, 6(5913), (doi: 10.1038/ncomms6913) (PMID:25557090) (PMCID:PMC4354036)

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Abstract

Low-light-level imaging techniques have application in many diverse fields, ranging from biological sciences to security. A high-quality digital camera based on a multi-megapixel array will typically record an image by collecting of order 105 photons per pixel, but by how much could this photon flux be reduced? In this work we demonstrate a single-photon imaging system based on a time-gated intensified camera from which the image of an object can be inferred from very few detected photons. We show that a ghost-imaging configuration, where the image is obtained from photons that have never interacted with the object, is a useful approach for obtaining images with high signal-to-noise ratios. The use of heralded single photons ensures that the background counts can be virtually eliminated from the recorded images. By applying principles of image compression and associated image reconstruction, we obtain high-quality images of objects from raw data formed from an average of fewer than one detected photon per image pixel.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Boyd, Professor Robert and Padgett, Professor Miles and MORRIS, PETER and Aspden, Mr Reuben
Authors: Morris, P. A., Aspden, R. S., Bell, J. E.C., Boyd, R. W., and Padgett, M. J.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Physics and Astronomy
Journal Name:Nature Communications
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
ISSN:2041-1723
ISSN (Online):2041-1723
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited
First Published:First published in Nature Communications 6:5913
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
549871Challenges in Orbital Angular MomentumMiles PadgettEngineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)EP/I012451/1P&A - PHYSICS & ASTRONOMY
549872Challenges in Orbital Angular MomentumMiles PadgettEngineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)EP/I012451/1P&A - PHYSICS & ASTRONOMY