All-optical machine learning using diffractive deep neural networks

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Science  07 Sep 2018:
Vol. 361, Issue 6406, pp. 1004-1008
DOI: 10.1126/science.aat8084

All-optical deep learning

Deep learning uses multilayered artificial neural networks to learn digitally from large datasets. It then performs advanced identification and classification tasks. To date, these multilayered neural networks have been implemented on a computer. Lin et al. demonstrate all-optical machine learning that uses passive optical components that can be patterned and fabricated with 3D-printing. Their hardware approach comprises stacked layers of diffractive optical elements analogous to an artificial neural network that can be trained to execute complex functions at the speed of light.

Science, this issue p. 1004


Deep learning has been transforming our ability to execute advanced inference tasks using computers. Here we introduce a physical mechanism to perform machine learning by demonstrating an all-optical diffractive deep neural network (D2NN) architecture that can implement various functions following the deep learning–based design of passive diffractive layers that work collectively. We created 3D-printed D2NNs that implement classification of images of handwritten digits and fashion products, as well as the function of an imaging lens at a terahertz spectrum. Our all-optical deep learning framework can perform, at the speed of light, various complex functions that computer-based neural networks can execute; will find applications in all-optical image analysis, feature detection, and object classification; and will also enable new camera designs and optical components that perform distinctive tasks using D2NNs.

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