A coherent optical information parallel processing technique using a multidiffraction grating is presented. We have shown that this parallel processing technique is capable of performing multichannel spatial filtering in the spatial frequency plane. The number of parallel processing channels is about 2N times the number of processing channels of the conventional coherent optical processor. However, in practice, the number of processing channels is limited by the number of multiplex gratings that can be synthesized and the available power of the light source. Extension of the monochromatic parallel processing system to polychromatic parallel processing is also presented. It can be shown that the number of processing channels of the polychromatic parallel processor is higher than the monochromatic parallel processor. Extension of this parallel processing concept to multisignal parallel processing is also discussed. However, the multisignal processing technique is not a real-time method because it requires an initial encoding step. Nevertheless, this disadvantage may be alleviated with ingenious design of the encoding system. We also assert that this parallel processing technique may be applied to white light parallel processing.
© 1981 Optical Society of America
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