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Making a synthetic aperture

Optical imaging typically requires focusing light refractively through a finely polished lens. However, such an approach has significant limitations. The resolution of such optical systems is limited by the quality of the lens; moreover, refractive optical techniques only work near visible wavelengths. The technique shown here derives spatial resolution through the combination of coherent beams striking the target from different angles. The phase of each beam can be controlled independently by moving mirrors, so that a "perfect" optical system can be simulated in software. Moreover, because this technique uses reflective optics, it works over a significantly wider range of optical wavelengths.