April 22, 2009

Scrambled light may yield sharper images

U.S. scientists say they've developed a light imaging technology that could lead to creation of more powerful microscopes and other optical devices.

Princeton University researchers said when photographers zoom in on an object to see it better, they lose the wide-angle perspective -- they are forced to trade off big picture context for detail. The scientists say their new imaging method might also lead to lenses that show all parts of a scene at once in the same high detail.

It allows you to take a closer look at an object without narrowing your field of view, said Assistant Professor Jason Fleischer, who led the research with graduate students Christopher Barsi and Wenjie Wan.

The study -- supported by the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research -- appears as the cover story in the April edition of the journal Nature Photonics.