Abstract

A recent thermal ghost imaging experiment implemented in Wu’s group [Chin. Phys. Lett. 279, 074216 (2012)] showed that both positive and negative images can be constructed by applying a novel algorithm. This algorithm allows us to form the images with the use of partial measurements from the reference arm (even which never passes through the object), conditioned on the object arm. In this paper, we present a simple theory that explains the experimental observation and provides an in-depth understanding of conventional ghost imaging. In particular, we theoretically show that the visibility of formed images through such an algorithm is not bounded by the standard value 13. In fact, it can ideally grow up to unity (with reduced imaging quality). Thus, the algorithm described here not only offers an alternative way to decode spatial correlation of thermal light, but also mimics a “bandpass filter” to remove the constant background such that the visibility or imaging contrast is improved. We further show that conditioned on one still object present in the test arm, it is possible to construct the object’s image by sampling the available reference data.

© 2012 Optical Society of America

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