We demonstrate a new optical imaging technique based on a directional detector that measures the intensity of light waves that propagate only in a narrow angular window around a specific direction. Light waves that propagate in other directions do not significantly affect the detector output. The directional detector is obtained by illuminating the interrogated object with a high-coherence light source and measuring the interference between the light wave reflected from the object and a reference wave. By measuring the intensity of the interference pattern with an optical detector that has a finite width and moving the object by use of a rotation stage, one can obtain the angular directionality of the filter. The use of coherent detection in the directional detector makes it possible to increase the sensitivity of the system. The directional detector was analyzed theoretically and demonstrated experimentally for a Gaussian beam scattered from a conducting cylinder. The interference enabled us to theoretically increase the angular resolution by a factor of ∼10 and experimentally by a factor of 8.5. A configuration for using a directional detector array to reconstruct a two-dimensional object is suggested. Since the directional detector makes it possible to reduce the effect of diffraction and scattering, reconstruction techniques based on nondiffracting sources, as implemented in x-ray tomography, may be used.
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