Abstract

The biological photochrome bacteriorhodopsin (BR) is contained within the purple membrane (PM) of Halobacterium halobium. Artificial derivatives with improved optical properties can be generated by genetic methods and isolated from mutated halobacterial strains. The use of PM films that contain wild-type BR and BR variants as real-time recording media for various holographic applications has been reported previously, and the advantages of BR variants have been demonstrated. The high reversibility (≫ 105 record/erase cycles), the fast time scale of its photoconversions (femtoseconds to milliseconds), and the large photochromic shift (≈ 160 nm) occurring during its photocycle make it a promising material for real-time applications. A dual-axis joint-Fourier-transform (DA-JFT) correlator is used to demonstrate the applicability of PM films in holographic pattern recognition. One major advantage of PM films in this application is their high spatial resolution of more than 5000 lines/mm. Severe restrictions on the overall performance of the DA-JFT correlator system are caused by scattered light and result in a low signal-to-noise ratio. Since PM patches typically have a diameter in the range of the visible wavelengths that are used for hologram recording, light scattering is an intrinsic problem of PM films. The polarization recording properties of PM films are employed to overcome this problem. More than 20-fold improvement of the signal-to-noise ratio in the DA-JFT correlator output is obtained.

© 1992 Optical Society of America

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