Diffractive networks improve optical image classification accuracy


Recently, there has been a reemergence of interest in optical computing platforms for artificial intelligence-related applications. Optics is ideally suited for realizing neural network models because of the high speed, large bandwidth and high interconnectivity of optical information processing. Introduced by UCLA researchers, Diffractive Deep Neural Networks (D2NNs) constitute such an optical computing framework, comprising successive transmissive and/or reflective diffractive surfaces that can process input information through light-matter interaction. These surfaces are designed using standard deep learning techniques in a computer, which are then fabricated and assembled to build a physical optical network. Through experiments performed at terahertz wavelengths, the capability of D2NNs in classifying objects all-optically was demonstrated. In addition to object classification, the success of D2NNs in performing miscellaneous optical design and computation tasks, including e.g., spectral filtering, spectral information encoding, and optical pulse shaping have also been demonstrated.





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