Lateral inhibition: inherent recurrent processes in coherent optical propagation
Processes that are analogous to the neural process of recurrent lateral inhibition can be found in optical systems that consist of a shift-invariant system and a Fabry-Perot cavity. The properties of the optical recurrent system are derived and demonstrated by computer simulation. The simulation shows that optical lateral inhibition can be used to enhance the outline of an amplitude object and to make phase-only objects directly detectable and visible. The optical recurrent system is compared with frequency-plane spatial filtering. Requirements and practical limitations for the design of an optical recurrent system are also discussed.
© Copyright 1994 Optical Society of America Received 20 November 1992; revised manuscript received 25 June 1993. The author acknowledges support from the Scholarship of Chinese Academy of Sciences and appreciates the support of Demetri Psaltis and his group members at California Institute of Technology. I also thank Robert W. Cohn, University of Louisville, for several helpful technical discussions.