Sunday, October 16, 2016

Much Higher Image Resolution Now Possible

Angular resolution or spatial resolution describes the ability of any image-forming device such as an optical or radio telescope, a microscope, a camera, or an eye, to distinguish small details of an object, thereby making it a major determinant of image resolution.

Definition of Terms

Resolving power is the ability of an imaging device to separate (i.e., to see as distinct) points of an object that are located at a small angular distance or it is the power of an optical instrument to separate far away objects, that are close together, into individual images. The term resolution or minimum resolvable distance is the minimum distance between distinguishable objects in an image, although the term is loosely used by many users of microscopes and telescopes to describe resolving power. In scientific analysis, in general, the term "resolution" is used to describe the precision with which any instrument measures and records (in an image or spectrum) any variable in the specimen or sample under study.


The imaging system's resolution can be limited either by aberration or by diffraction causing blurring of the image. These two phenomena have different origins and are unrelated. Aberrations can be explained by geometrical optics and can in principle be solved by increasing the optical quality — and consequently the cost — of the system. On the other hand, diffraction comes from the wave nature of light and is determined by the finite aperture of the optical elements. The lens' circular aperture is analogous to a two-dimensional version of the single-slit experiment. Light passing through the lens interferes with itself creating a ring-shape diffraction pattern, known as the Airy pattern, if the wavefront of the transmitted light is taken to be spherical or plane over the exit aperture.

The interplay between diffraction and aberration can be characterised by the point spread function (PSF). The narrower the aperture of a lens the more likely the PSF is dominated by diffraction. In that case, the angular resolution of an optical system can be estimated (from the diameter of the aperture and the wavelength of the light) by the Rayleigh criterion defined by Lord Rayleigh:

Two point sources are regarded as just resolved when the principal diffraction maximum of one image coincides with the first minimum of the other. If the distance is greater, the two points are well resolved and if it is smaller, they are regarded as not resolved. Rayleigh defended this criteria on sources of equal strength.

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Raleigh Criterion on Angular Resolution Has Been Broken

A new approach using lasers and calculus equations allows overlapping images to be separated as has been accomplished through recent research.  See this link:

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