Abstract

The job of an array illuminator is to provide an array of optical gates or smart pixels with photon power or with synchronous clock signals. So far it has been common to take the power from one big laser and distribute it to perhaps a million gates. An obvious alternative is to assign one private small source to each gate. We favor an in-between approach: a few medium-size sources share the job of providing photons. This hybrid approach has several advantages, such as better homogeneity, less coherent noise, and a distributed risk of source failure. We propose several setups and present some experimental results. Our concept calls for an array of incoherent point sources. We simulate such an array experimentally with a single source, which is virtually expanded into a source array by grating diffraction. Ordinarily these virtual sources are mutually coherent, which is undesirable for our aims. We destroy the mutual coherence by moving the grating during the photographic recording of the output array.

© 1992 Optical Society of America

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