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Scientists Use Visible Light To See Through Solid Surfaces

Researchers have developed a new method to potentially replace X-rays and ultrasounds.

Naresh Kumar
Naresh Kumar on October 8, 2010.

French scientists from the Institut Langevin have devised a new method to detect images through opaque objects using regular, visible light. What it means for us is, it can potentially replace X-rays and ultrasounds in medical imaging applications. The scientists used a laser, a digital camera and a projector to extract images from light passing through a solid surface by interpreting how the surface makes the light scatter.

Discovery News reports:

Their experiment contained three key pieces of widely available technology: a green laser as the light source, a light modulator (which is often used in projectors), and a charged coupled device, the technology used in many digital cameras.

The laser created the light, which was sent through the modulator, and illuminated the image (in their tests, a rose). The green light bounced off the image and through a glass slide that was painted white, which scatters the light in all kinds of different directions.

Ordinarily that would be the end of it; the image captured by the digital camera would be blurred beyond all recognition. The French scientists got around this limitation by taking picture after picture of the blurred image, and then applying a program that accounts for how the light is scattered by the white glass. That way they could reassemble a grainy image of the flower.

Institut Langevin

Discovery News: “Alternative to X-Rays Uses Visible Light”

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