Optical EngineeringReal-time optical image processing using difference-of-Gaussians wavelets
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A hybrid optical/electronic image processing system is proposed for the real-time implementation of a wavelet transform. Specifically, the difference-of-Gaussians (DOG) wavelet is synthesized in the hybrid system and used to process an input object. In the implementation, two laser beams with different temporal frequencies are first generated by an acousto-optic modulator. The two optical beams are then combined spatially and used to scan and process the object. The scattered light from the object is then picked up by a photodetector. The photodetector's electrical output signal, after appropriate electronic filtering, represents a scanned and processed version of the original object and can be sent to a monitor for real-time display or to a digital storage device for possible further processing. Because the proposed hybrid system is based on optical scanning, it is an incoherent system and hence has a much better signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) as compared with its coherent counterpart. Experimental results are presented and are shown to be in excellent agreement with computer simulations.