How many photons does it take to form an image?

Steven D. Johnson, Paul Antoine Moreau, Thomas Gregory, Miles J. Padgett*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

If a picture tells a thousand words, then we might ask ourselves how many photons does it take to form a picture? In terms of the transmission of the picture information, then the multiple degrees of freedom (e.g., wavelength, polarization, and spatial mode) of the photon mean that high amounts of information can be encoded such that the many pixel values of an image can, in principle, be communicated by a single photon. However, the number of photons required to transmit the image information is not necessarily, at least technically, the same as the number of photons required to image an object.

Original languageEnglish
Article number260504
JournalApplied Physics Letters
Volume116
Issue number26
Early online date29 Jun 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jul 2020

Keywords

  • pixel values
  • image

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