New techniques in nonlinear optical processing are explored, based on the operation of intensity level selection as performed by a Fabry-Perot interferometer containing a phase object. The image being processed is recorded on a medium between the mirrors as a spatially varying phase shift less than π. The interferometer only transmits light through those portions of the object that correspond to a single value of the phase and hence to a single intensity level in the input. More complicated operations such as thresholding and analog-to-digital conversion are performed by modulating the light source as the different levels are selected. Photoresist and lithium niobate have been used as phase objects, and experimental data for both are presented. Three kinds of Fabry-Perot interferometers have been used to demonstrate nonlinear processing using coherent and incoherent light. Color images have been produced with black and white inputs and white light illumination.
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