Researchers have developed a new technology using meta-optical devices for thermal imaging. This method provides more information about imaged objects, expanding the use of thermal imaging in fields such as autonomous navigation, security, thermography, medical imaging, and remote sensing.
The new spectro-polarimetric decomposition system breaks down thermal light into its spectral and polarimetric components, allowing the imaging system to capture more details than traditional thermal imaging. The researchers showed that the new system can be used with a commercial thermal camera to classify various materials and distinguish temperature variations.
To overcome limitations, the researchers used large-area metasurfaces to create spinning stack devices suitable for imaging applications. Integrating these devices with computational imaging algorithms facilitated the efficient reconstruction of the thermal radiation spectrum.
The researchers also demonstrated a three-fold increase in material classification accuracy compared to traditional thermal imaging methods. They believe the new method could revolutionize airport security systems and enhance applications like autonomous navigation. They are working to achieve video capture, enhance spectral resolution, and extend the method to room-temperature imaging using improved materials and techniques like anti-reflection coatings.
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