Method and Device for Synthetic Light in Flight Imaging

Case ID:

This invention is a method that enables ‘light in flight imaging’ using only continuous wave (CW) lasers and an inexpensive off-the-shelf CMOS/CCD camera. This method exploits a specific algorithm that allows one to “computationally shape” the pulse via postprocessing in the computer. By freely controlling the phase and amplitude of each single monochromatic field in the pulse, one can also create other shapes (e.g., double pulses), that can be then precisely tailored to specific applications - all software sided and in post processing without acquiring new data.

Beginning in the 1970’s, a field of research known as light-in-flight (LiF) photography has studied methods of capturing representations of light as it propagates across a scene or through a (scattering) medium. Today, many LiF techniques have been developed that rely on short light pulses, and/or high-speed detector gating. These techniques have found applications in the realms of metrology, medical imaging, laser pulse studies, and high-speed image capturing.

The exploration of LiF photography has been instrumental in advancing numerous scientific and technological fields. While the traditional methods are often tied to specialized and costly equipment, there has been a growing need for more accessible and versatile solutions. The emergence of new computational techniques and the integration of mobile devices has led to a fresh wave of innovation, driving research and practical applications in directions previously unattainable.


  • Astronomy
  • Biomedical
  • Virtual/augmented reality
  • Industrial inspections
  • Education
  • Aviation
  • Design visualization
  • Marketing and advertising


  • Customizable for industry use
  • Greater data visualization capabilities
  • Innovative use of CW lasers, reducing complexity and cost
  • Software-driven approach, enabling rapid adaptation and scalability
Patent Information:
Contact For More Information:
Richard Weite
Senior Licensing Manager, College of Optical Sciences
The University of Arizona
Lead Inventor(s):
Florian Willomitzer
Patrick Cornwall
Manuel Ballester
Heming Wang