Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Physicists find way to see through paint, paper, and other opaque materials

Date:
March 9, 2010
Source:
American Physical Society
Summary:
New experiments show that it's possible to focus light through opaque materials and detect objects hidden behind them, provided you know enough about the material.

Knowing enough about the way light is scattered through materials would allow physicists to see through opaque substances, such as the sugar cube on the right. In addition, physicists could use information characterizing an opaque material to put it to work as a high quality optical component, comparable to the glass lens show on the left.
Credit: American Physical Society

Materials such as paper, paint, and biological tissue are opaque because the light that passes through them is scattered in complicated and seemingly random ways. A new experiment conducted by researchers at the City of Paris Industrial Physics and Chemistry Higher Educational Institution (ESPCI) has shown that it's possible to focus light through opaque materials and detect objects hidden behind them, provided you know enough about the material.

The experiment is reported in the current issue of Physical Review Letters, and is the subject of Viewpoint in APS Physics by Elbert van Putten and Allard Mosk of the University of Twente.

In order to demonstrate their approach to characterize opaque substances, the researchers first passed light through a layer of zinc oxide, which is a common component of white paints. By studying the way the light beam changed as it encountered the material, they were able to produce a numerical model called a transmission matrix, which included over 65,000 numbers describing the way that the zinc oxide layer affected light. They could then use the matrix to tailor a beam of light specifically to pass through the layer and focus on the other side. Alternatively, they could measure light emerging from the opaque material, and use the matrix to assemble of an image of an object behind it.

In effect, the experiment shows that an opaque material could serve as a high quality optical element comparable to a conventional lens, once a sufficiently detailed transmission matrix is constructed. In addition to allowing us to peer through paper or paint, and into cells, the technique opens up the possibility that opaque materials might be good optical elements in nano-scale devices, at levels where the construction of transparent lenses and other components is particularly challenging.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Physical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal References:

  1. S. M. Popoff, G. Lerosey, R. Carminati, M. Fink, A. C. Boccara, and S. Gigan. Measuring the Transmission Matrix in Optics: An Approach to the Study and Control of Light Propagation in Disordered Media. Physical Review Letters, 2010; DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.104.100601
  2. Elbert G. van Putten and Allard P. Mosk. The information age in optics: Measuring the transmission matrix. Physics, 2010; 3 (22) DOI: 10.1103/Physics.3.22

Cite This Page:

American Physical Society. "Physicists find way to see through paint, paper, and other opaque materials." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 March 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100308132052.htm>.
American Physical Society. (2010, March 9). Physicists find way to see through paint, paper, and other opaque materials. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100308132052.htm
American Physical Society. "Physicists find way to see through paint, paper, and other opaque materials." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100308132052.htm (accessed October 2, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Japan Looks To Faster Future As Bullet Train Turns 50

Japan Looks To Faster Future As Bullet Train Turns 50

Newsy (Oct. 1, 2014) Japan's bullet train turns 50 Wednesday. Here's a look at how it's changed over half a century — and the changes it's inspired globally. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
US Police Put Body Cameras to the Test

US Police Put Body Cameras to the Test

AFP (Oct. 1, 2014) Police body cameras are gradually being rolled out across the US, with interest surging after the fatal police shooting in August of an unarmed black teenager. Duration: 02:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Japan Celebrates 'bullet Train' Anniversary

Raw: Japan Celebrates 'bullet Train' Anniversary

AP (Oct. 1, 2014) A ceremony marking 50 years since Japan launched its Shinkansen bullet train was held on Wednesday in Tokyo. The latest model can travel from Tokyo to Osaka, a distance of 319 miles, in two hours and 25 minutes. (Oct. 1) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robotic Hair Restoration

Robotic Hair Restoration

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) A new robotic procedure is changing the way we transplant hair. The ARTAS robot leaves no linear scarring and provides more natural results. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins