Wavefront Shaping: From Telescopes to Biological Tissue

February 24, 2023

Researchers, led by Lihong Wang, Bren Professor of Medical Engineering and Electrical Engineering, have made a major step forward in medical imaging by taking inspiration from the field of astronomy. In astronomy, the light that reaches telescopes is distorted by the earth's atmosphere, resulting in blurry images of planets, satellites, and other cosmic objects. The earth's atmosphere is what's known as a scattering medium; it scatters light, making images appear unfocused and cloudy. Wavefront shaping is a method of generating focused light by reversing the optical distortion caused by the atmosphere. In this method, a reflective device, like a mirror, "shapes" light waves to counterbalance distortion. It's similar to a person wearing active noise-cancelling headphones to combat ambient noise. [Caltech story]

Tags: EE research highlights MedE Lihong Wang