On resolution with far field optics


lt is common knowledge in optics that, when only far fields are measured, there is a fundamental limit to the resolution given by the wavelength of the light. Yet research continues to beat this fundamental limit. Even a Nobel Prize was awarded for super-resolution some years ago. In this article we consider the apparent contradiction and explain under what circumstances the classical limit of resolution can be beaten. As will
be seen, these circumstances are quite special, but if they can be realised super-resolution is possible.

You can read the complete article here.

The article is from Photonics Magazine, published 2020 June by Zheng Xi and Paul Urbach

The Photonic Career Hub – CARLA

Photonics has been coined as a key enabling technology for the future. It is the physical science that focusses on all aspects of light – not only the visible light – and its technical applications.

Photonics can be applied in various domains such as health, communications, imaging or lighting. Think about the barcode scanner which is used to scan your groceries at the cashier, LiDAR sensors for your autonomous driving car, laser surgery or glass fiber internet. This technology affects many different aspects of our daily life. Hence, there is a need for a lot of people with knowledge or interest in this area. Not only to do research but also to design, build, repair or operate systems that have photonic components and to consider photonics as an option for solving problems.


CARLA is an innovative Career hub for photonics. Through an iterative process of a series of meetings it aims to bring together people from all sorts of different backgrounds in 11 European countries. By bring together people from industry, start-ups, knowledge institutes and government it aims to attract students – not only university level – PhD’s and postdocs to consider to invest some time in learning about photonics as an advancement to their career. 

(From an interview with Aurèle Adam)

Picture made by: Erwin Suvaal from CVIII ontwerpers

Solving the problem of divergent Born series by Pade’ approximants

Master student Thomas van der Sijs of the Optics Group has published the paper: “Electromagnetic Scattering beyond the weak regime: Solving the problem of divergent Born series by Pade’ approximants” in Physical Review Research.

The paper introduces a new rigorous method to solve electromagnetic scattering problems in the strong scattering regime. Conventional methods such as FDTD, FEM or integral equation methods require computing the solution of a very large set of linear equations. In the paper Pade’ approximants are applied to solve the long standing problem of diverging Born series. In the proposed method only simple small systems have to be solved for all grid points separately inside the scattering object. This can be done in parallel, so that the method is very fast and requires very little computer memory.  The new method is not only useful for forward scattering problems but will also be very important for solving inverse problems, in particular to quantify the possibility of super-resolution by multiple scattering.  

Thomas will continue as PhD in the Optics Group in the framework of the Synoptics Programme.


Comparison between the results obtained with the new method (right) and the analytic solution (left) for the scattering of a plane wave by a cylinder of silicon in air with radius 400 nm, equal to the wavelength.

T. A. van der Sijs, O. El Gawhary, and H. P. Urbach 
Phys. Rev. Research 2, 013308 – Published 13 March 2020

Holst Memorial Lecture Award

Joseph Braat presents the Holst Memorial Lecture 2019 and receives the Holst Award medal from TU Eindhoven, Philips Research and Signify for his work in the field of imaging optics.

Holst Memorial Lecture Award

This year’s Holst Lecture will be the 43rd since 1977. The Holst Lecturer will join the ranks of eminent scientists and/or Nobel laureates like Pierre-Gilles de Gennes, Hendrik Casimir, Ilya Prigogine, Arno Penzias, Nicholas Negroponte, Alan Heeger, John Craig Venter and Shuji Nakamura.

The first Holst Memorial Lecture was given in 1977 to commemorate the 21st anniversary of the Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands. With support from Philips Research, the Holst Lecture given by a most eminent scientist in a selected research domain to an audience consisting of university staff, students, representatives from industry and other guests with a general interest in science and technology became an annual tradition. Candidates for the Award are selected by a committee under the chairmanship of the Rector Magnificus of the TU/e, the CTO of Royal Philips and the CEO of Signify research.

Gilles Holst

The general theme chosen for these lectures reflects the important contribution of Dr. Gilles Holst (1886-1968) to the development of research and technology in the Netherlands: ‘the development of applied science, particularly mathematics and the natural sciences, for the benefit of industry on the one side and their implications for society on the other.’

In his own academic career Holst played an essential part in the discovery of superconductivity by Nobel laureate H. Kamerlingh Onnes, whilst working at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands. However, Gilles Holst will be first and foremost remembered as the founding director of the famous ‘Nat Lab’, the Philips Physics Laboratory in Eindhoven, where he worked between 1914 and 1946. During his lifetime, Gilles Holst was chairman of two committees that were instrumental in establishing the University of Technology in Eindhoven in 1956.

Eindhoven region

The Eindhoven Region, often referred to as Brainport Eindhoven is Europe’s leading innovative top technology region and home to Royal Philips, Signify, NXP semiconductors and ASML. Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) has according to Times Higher Education World University Ranking the highest score for collaboration with industry in the field of academic and scientific research. One of TU/e distinguished emeriti was Edsger W. Dijkstra, one of the most influential members of computing science’s founding generation and Turing Award winner 1972.

After the Lecture, the rector magnificus will present the Holst Memorial Lecturer with the Holst Memorial Lecture Award, a honorary medal designed by Dutch sculptor Jos Reniers. To honor the laureate, a dinner with speakers, management of Philips Research, Signify and TU/e and the Scientific Committee will be organized.

Award winning speaker 2019

The Holst Memorial Lecture Award Committee nominates prof.dr.ir. Joseph Braat for his important contributions in the field of Imaging Optics. Joseph Braat provided essential contributions that enabled, but reach far beyond optical recording (e.g. CD, DVD). These can be seen as a scientific and technological base for some of the technologies that would launch the successes of the so called Brainport Eindhoven region, including Imaging Optics in Wafer Steppers that drives Moore’s law in the Semiconductor Industry. His work still proves to be important for new ventures in Digital Pathology, Automotive Lighting and Smart Lighting.

Holst Memorial Lecture: ‘Optical imaging, the diffraction limit and methods to surpass it’

Joseph Braat (professor emeritus TU Delft and former scientist at Philips Research) will receive the Holst Memorial Lecture Award 2019 for his important contributions in the field of Imaging Optics on 21 November 2019 at TU Eindhoven.

Beijing Institute of Space Mechanics and Electricity

A delegation of  50 people from BISME (Bejing Institute of Space Mechanics and Electricity) has visited the Optics Group. The delegation was in  the Netherlands to attend the 6th International Symposium on Space Optics Instruments and Applications, which was held in Delft (Sep 24-25, 2019) in the framework of the cooperation between TNO and BISME.

The delegation was led by Dr. Guojing Zhuang, of the China Aerospace and Technology Cooperation, prof.  Qifeng Yu of the National University of Defense Technology and member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering and Dr. Bin Fan, vice-director of BISME. The visitors showed a lot of interest in the research related to balloon missions presented by Jian Rong Gao and the research on single photon detectors, presented by Iman Zadeh.

Weekend of Science – Oct 5-6, 2019

Science Weekend: October 5 & 6

The Weekend of Science is a national science weekend. Every year, various technical institutions open their doors to provide extra activities. This year the theme of our Weekend of Science is: LIGHT.

Date : 5 – 6 October 2019
Organisation: Science Centre Delft
More information: Science Centre Delft, Facebook

With a pop-up holography exhibition, luminous animals and various workshops with the theme LIGHT, it promises to be a great weekend.

By the way, you get a 50% DISCOUNT * for the entire weekend at the workshops below:

  • Dolphi camera – from € 15 for € 7.50
  • GOBO ART projector – from € 15 for € 7.50
  • Color your own Wooden Tol – from € 1 for € 0.50
  • Make your own LED lamp – from € 4 for € 2

Great right? So put it in your calendar and make sure you are there!

* when visiting the museum

Face2Phase – Oct 21-23, 2019

The conference Fase2Phase, 2nd Edition, addresses imaging with phase information and covers topics such as lensless imaging, aberration retrieval, adaptive and active optics, ptychography, holography, tomography, phase retrieval and applications.

Date : 21 – 23 October 2019
Location: Delft 
Organisation: TU Delft + AOIM XII – Adaptive Optics conference
Website: Face2Phase

In parallel to the conference, a special exhibition; “Optics for all” is organized by the Optics Research group.  On Wednesday afternoon there is a workshop organized (free of charge) for the students with four interesting speakers.  On Tuesday evening we have planned the poster session combined with a walking dinner.  The conference dinner on Wednesday evening organised together with the Adaptive Optics conference.

The following distinguished invited speakers have confirmed their attendance:

Prof. John Rodenburg, University of Sheffield (UK)
Dr. Andreas Menzel, Paul Scherrer Institute (CH)
Prof. Paul Planken, ARCNL/UVA (NL)
Prof. Allard Mosk, University Utrecht (NL)
Prof. Shiyan Liu, Huazhong University of  Science and Technology,  (CN)
Prof. Silvain Gigan, Laboratoire Kastler Brossel (FR)
Prof. Hans-Peter Herzig, EPFL, Switserland (CH)
Prof. Ivo Vellekoop, University of Twente, Faculty TNW, BMPI (NL).
Prof. Henry Chapman, Center of Free-Electron Laser Science DESY / Universität Hamburg (DE)
Prof. Margaret Murnane, NSF STROBE Science and Technology Center JILA, University of Colorado Boulder (USA).
Dr. Stefano Bonora, NR Institute for Photonics and Nanotechnology (IT)
Dr. Sophie Brasselet, Institut Fresnel (FR)
Dr. Na Ji, Univerisity of Berkely, Helen Wills Neurocience Institute (USA)
Prof. Yihui Wu, Changchun Institute of Optics, Fine Mechanics and Physics (CN)
Dr. Kevin Zhou, Duke University (USA)


Delegates of Face@Phase have full access to AOIM talks and program events. Only one registration (to any of these two events) is necessary.  The events are scheduled one after another to avoid parallel sessions: Face2Phase on 21-23 October, and AOIM on 23-25 Oct, with no overlap.

Join our conference register here 

6th International Symposium of Space Optical Instrument and Application – Sep 24-25, 2019

We are glad to announce that the 6th edition of annual International Symposium of Space Optical Instrument and Application conference will be held in Delft, from Sep 24th to Sep 25th, 2019.

The goal of the symposium is to encourage international communication and cooperation in space optics, and promote the innovation, research and engineering development, initiated by the Sino-Holland Space Optical Instruments Joint Laboratory. This year, we will have special focus on satellite applications for air monitoring. During the conference, there will be an exhibition of earth images taken from satellites.

The topics of this conference will include:

  • Space optical remote sensing system design
  • Advanced optical system design and manufacture
  • Remote sensor calibration and measurement
  • Remote sensing data processing and information extracting
  • Remote sensing data application


There is no registration fee for attendance to the symposium. If you wish to attend, please register by emailing shconference@tno.nl.