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Light transport and imaging through complex media

Scientific meeting


Kavli Royal Society Centre, Chicheley Hall, Newport Pagnell, Buckinghamshire, MK16 9JJ


Theo Murphy international scientific meeting organised by Professor Daniele Faccio and Professor Stephen McLaughlin FREng.

Image by Ella Marushchenko

A multi-disciplinary meeting to discuss a new challenge in the field of optical imaging: the control of light transport through complex and highly scattering media. The problems of seeing through fog, a multimode fibre or inside the human body were once thought to be intractable or simply impossible. Recent developments have shown that by combining novel computational and imaging approaches, not only is this possible but also within reach.

Recorded audio of the presentations will be available on this page after the meeting has taken place. Meeting papers will be published in a future volume of Philosophical Transactions A.

Attending the event

This is a residential conference, which allows for increased discussion and networking.

  • Free to attend 
  • Advanced registration essential (more information on registration will be available soon) 
  • Catering and accommodation available to purchase during registration

Enquiries: contact the Scientific Programmes team

Call for posters

There will be a poster session on Monday 22 January 2018. If you would like to apply to present a poster please submit your proposed title, abstract (no more than 200 word and in third person), author list, name of the proposed presenter and institution to the Scientific Programmes team no later than 1 January 2018. Please note that places are limited and posters are selected at the scientific organiser's discretion. Poster abstracts will only be considered if the presenter is registered to attend the meeting.

Event organisers

Select an organiser for more information

Schedule of talks

22 January

Session 1 09:00-12:30

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10:00-10:05 Welcome by the Royal Society

10:05-10:30 Double phase retrieval for imaging through scattering media

Professor Richard Baraniuk, Rice University, USA

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11:00-11:30 High energy photon detection for imaging special nuclear materials

Professor Alfred Hero, University of Michigan, USA

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11:30-12:00 Open channels for transport and imaging in turbid media

Professor Allard Mosk, Utrecht University, Netherlands


Random scattering of light, which takes place in paper, paint and biological tissue is an obstacle to imaging and focusing of light and thus hampers many applications. At the same time scattering is a phenomenon of basic physical interest as it allows the study of fascinating interference effects such as open transport channels which enable lossless transport of waves through strongly scattering materials.

The transmission of these open channels remains high even for a thick sample, while their statistical occurrence offers a new way to measure the scattering strength of a material. Single open channels can be elucidated by repeated phase conjugation, and this opens them up to detailed spectroscopy measurements, allowing space-time mapping of these remarkable transmission properties in three-dimensional optical systems.

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Session 2 13:30-19:00

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13:30-14:00 Advances in refractive-index tomography

Professor Michael Unser, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland

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14:00-14:30 Quantum optics and information science in multi-dimensional networks

Professor Christine Silberhorn, University of Paderborn, Germany

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15:30-16:00 Photon-Efficient Imaging Through Scattering Media

Professor Vivek Goyal, Boston University

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16:00-16:30 3D Computational Microscopy in Scattering Media

Professor Laura Waller, UC Berkeley

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23 January

Session 3 09:00-12:30

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09:00-09:30 Transmission matrix approach to light control through complex media : imaging and beyond

Professor Sylvain Gigan, Laboratoire Kastler-Brossel, UPMC Paris, France

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09:30-10:00 Phase sensitive amplification for sub-shot-noise phase measurement and enhanced quantum imaging

Maria Chekhova, Max-Planck Institute for the Science of Light, Germany


The use of quantum states brings information technologies to a principally new level. At the same time, quantum information is difficult to deal with due to its fragility to detection losses and noise. A remedy is phase sensitive amplification, proposed theoretically more than two decades ago but applied to experiments only recently. 

In particular, phase measurement below the shot-noise level, possible with squeezed light, is strongly affected by detection losses. At the same time, amplification of the quadrature containing the phase information enables overcoming any level of loss. This tolerance to loss has been demonstrated in a recent experiment with two coherently pumped high-gain parametric amplifiers, the first of them producing squeezed light testing the phase and the second one amplifying and protecting the phase information. 

The same principle of phase sensitive amplification can be used to protect from loss the protocol of sub-shot-noise imaging, in which an object is placed into one of twin beams and the image is restored in the difference intensity distribution. By amplifying the image before detection, the limitations imposed by losses can be lifted, and the protocol can be extended to ‘difficult’ spectral ranges such as infrared. 

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11:00-11:30 Time-of-flight computational imaging

Professor Andreas Velten, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA

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11:30-12:00 Optical manipulation of neuronal circuits by optical wave front shaping

Dr Valentina Emiliani, Univeristy Paris Descartes, France

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Session 4 13:30-17:00

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16:00-16:30 Resolving fast neuronal impulses in scattering brain tissue

Dr Amanda Foust, Imperial College London

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13:30-14:00 Single Pixel Camera and data inversion

Professor Miles Padgett, University of Glasgow, UK

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14:00-14:30 Correlations between the transmitted and reflected speckle patterns in scattering media

Dr Jacopo Bertolotti, University of Exeter, UK


When monochromatic light propagates through a scattering medium, it is scrambled and produces a seemingly random speckle pattern. This randomization process prevents information to pass through a turbid material, which behave like a screen and prevents us to see through it. Yet, multiple scattering is not enough to completely decouple the two sides of a turbid medium, as interference between the scattered waves is known to produce correlations in the speckle patterns. In most cases these correlations can be used to extract information about the turbid medium itself. An exception is the optical memory effect, that connects the incident with the transmitted wavefront, and thus can be exploited to retrieve information through an otherwise opaque screen. Here we present the experimental characterization of a novel form of correlation that connects the reflected and the transmitted speckle measuring only the reflected light. We characterize the rich phenomenology of this correlation, and show that it can be used to image non-invasively through a strongly scattering medium.

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15:30-16:00 Photon-limited imaging in materials science and lidar

Professor Rebecca Willett, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA

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Light transport and imaging through complex media Kavli Royal Society Centre, Chicheley Hall Newport Pagnell Buckinghamshire MK16 9JJ