Nanophotonic Coherent Imager

F. Aflatouni,B. Abiri, A. Rekhi, and A. Hajimiri

An integrated silicon nanophotonic coherent imager (NCI), with a 4 × 4 array of coherent pixels is reported. In the proposed NCI, on-chip optical processing determines the intensity and depth of each point on the imaged object based on the instantaneous phase and amplitude of the optical wave incident on each pixel. The NCI operates based on a modified time-domain frequency modulated continuous wave (FMCW) ranging scheme, where concurrent time-domain measurements of both period and the zero-crossing time of each electrical output of the nanophotonic chip allows the NCI to overcome the traditional resolution limits of frequency domain detection. The detection of both intensity and relative delay enables applications such as high-resolution 3D reflective and transmissive imaging as well as index contrast imaging. We demonstrate 3D imaging with 15μm depth resolution and 50μm lateral resolution (limited by the pixel spacing) at up to 0.5-meter range. The reported NCI is also capable of detecting a 1% equivalent refractive index contrast at 1mm thickness.