Superresolution in optics: what you see is what you get

Markus Testorf

Thayer School, Dartmouth College


In optical sciences the term "superresolution" is typically used for systems and signal processing methods with imaging and beam shaping capabilities exceeding the classic Rayleigh diffraction limit. The presentation briefly outlines the importance of the Rayleigh limit as a way to estimate the resolution optimum for a wider class of problems and why it is nevertheless not a limit in a rigorous sense. In the second part of the presentation different superresolution techniques will be compared qualitatively. It will be argued that in many instances the term 'superresolution' mislabels the technique in question. A classification of superresolution techniques is suggested for recognizing similarities between different methods. A third part of the presentation will focus on a specific linear superresolution technique, the PDFT algorithm. The versatility of the PDFT algorithm is demonstrated by discussing a number of applications ranging from diffraction tomography and synthetic aperture radar to generalized sampling and compressive imaging.

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