A unidirectional imager would only permit image formation along one direction, from an input field-of-view (FOV) A to an output FOV B, and in the reverse path, the image formation would be blocked. Here, we report the first demonstration of unidirectional imagers, presenting polarization-insensitive and broadband unidirectional imaging based on successive diffractive layers that are linear and isotropic. These diffractive layers are optimized using deep learning and consist of hundreds of thousands of diffractive phase features, which collectively modulate the incoming fields and project an intensity image of the input onto an output FOV, while blocking the image formation in the reverse direction. After their deep learning-based training, the resulting diffractive layers are fabricated to form a unidirectional imager. As a reciprocal device, the diffractive unidirectional imager has asymmetric mode processing capabilities in the forward and backward directions, where the optical modes from B to A are selectively guided/scattered to miss the output FOV, whereas for the forward direction such modal losses are minimized, yielding an ideal imaging system between the input and output FOVs. Although trained using monochromatic illumination, the diffractive unidirectional imager maintains its functionality over a large spectral band and works under broadband illumination. We experimentally validated this unidirectional imager using terahertz radiation, very well matching our numerical results. Using the same deep learning-based design strategy, we also created a wavelength-selective unidirectional imager, where two unidirectional imaging operations, in reverse directions, are multiplexed through different illumination wavelengths. Diffractive unidirectional imaging using structured materials will have numerous applications in e.g., security, defense, telecommunications and privacy protection.
translated by 谷歌翻译