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We demonstrate in situ non-invasive relay imaging through a medium without inserting physical optical components. We show that a virtual optical graded-index (GRIN) lens can be sculpted in the medium using in situ reconfigurable ultrasonic interference patterns to relay images through the medium. Ultrasonic wave patterns change the local density of the medium to sculpt a graded refractive index pattern normal to the direction of light propagation, which modulates the phase front of light, causing it to focus within the medium and effectively creating a virtual relay lens. We demonstrate the in situ relay imaging and resolving of small features (22 µm) through a turbid medium (optical thickness = 5.7 times the scattering mean free path), which is normally opaque. The focal distance and the numerical aperture of the sculpted optical GRIN lens can be tuned by changing the ultrasonic wave parameters. As an example, we experimentally demonstrate that the axial focal distance can be continuously scanned over a depth of 5.4 mm in the modulated medium and that the numerical aperture can be tuned up to 21.5%. The interaction of ultrasonic waves and light can be mediated through different physical media, including turbid media, such as biological tissue, in which the ultrasonically sculpted GRIN lens can be used for relaying images of the underlying structures through the turbid medium, thus providing a potential alternative to implanting invasive endoscopes.
Scopelliti, M. G., & Chamanzar, M. (2019). Ultrasonically sculpted virtual relay lens for in situ microimaging. Light: Science and Applications, 8(1). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41377-019-0173-7
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