A confocal Fabry-Perot interferometer is used to produce feedback within an optical processor. The resulting confocal feedback system (CFS) has a complex-valued feedback transfer function and performs analog solution of partial differential equations (PDE’s). The CFS is interfaced to a microcomputer via a laser scanner and video electronics to create a hybrid processor, thus taking a major step toward the practical use of the CFS for the high-speed solution of PDE’s. Solutions to the three types of second-order linear PDE’s in two dimensions—elliptic, hyperbolic, and parabolic—were obtained experimentally and analyzed.
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