Up-conversion sensing based on optical heterodyning of an IR (infrared) image with a local oscillator laser wave in a nonlinear optical sum-frequency mixing (SFM) process is a practical solution to circumvent some limitations of IR image sensors in terms of signal-to-noise ratio, speed, resolution, or cooling needs in some demanding applications. In this way, the spectral content of an IR image can become spectrally shifted to the visible/near infrared (VIS/NWIR) and then detected with silicon focal plane arrayed sensors (Si-FPA), such as CCD/CMOS (charge-coupled and complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor devices). This work is an extension of a previous study where we recently introduced this technique in the context of optical communications, in particular in FSOC (free-space optical communications). Herein, we present an image up-conversion system based on a 1064 nm Nd3+
solid-state laser with a KTP (potassium titanyl phosphate) nonlinear crystal located intra-cavity where a laser beam at 1550 nm 2D spatially-modulated with a binary Quick Response (QR) code is mixed, giving an up-converted code image at 631 nm that is detected with an Si-based camera. The underlying technology allows for the extension of other IR spectral allocations, construction of compact receivers at low cost, and provides a natural way for increased protection against eavesdropping.
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