Optical Imaging  

Compressed Ultrafast Photography

Ultrafast imaging technologies are essential to capture transient phenomena in biology, physics, and chemistry. Currently, various pump-probe approaches are the mainstream in ultrafast imaging. However, these schemes require the targeted phenomena to be precisely repetitive and thus are inapplicable in imaging many single-event ultrafast phenomena, such as optical rogue waves, nuclear explosions, and scattering in dynamic biological tissue.

Compressed ultrafast photography (CUP), as a single-shot ultrafast computational imaging modality, overcomes this limitation. Synergistically combining compressed sensing and streak imaging, CUP can image non-repetitive transient events at 100 billion frames per second. In addition, akin to conventional photography, CUP is receive-only. Avoiding specialized active illumination, CUP is perfectly suited to imaging a variety of luminescent processes, such as fluorescence and scattering.

Using CUP, we have visualized many light-speed phenomena in real time, including reflection and refraction of a single laser pulse, photon racing in two different media, and faster-than-light propagation of non-information. Very recently, we have made the first-ever real-time video recording of a scattering-induced photonic Mach cone — the optical counterpart of the sonic Mach cone or sonic boom produced by a supersonic jet.

CUP has found applications in fluorescence imaging and metrology. First, by integrating CUP with a color separation unit, we have demonstrated 2D fluorescent light time mapping. Thus, CUP can be readily applied in single-shot fluorescence lifetime microscopy (FLIM). In addition, by employing a short-pulsed laser with CUP, we have demonstrated single-shot encrypted volumetric imaging by measuring the time-of-flight light signal back scattered from 3D objects.

Given the capability of CUP, we expect it to find widespread applications in both fundamental and applied sciences.

Selected publications:

  • [Liang, J.; Ma, C.; Zhu, L.]; Chen, Y.; Gao, L.; Wang, L. V.; "Single-shot real-time video recording of a photonic Mach cone induced by a scattered light pulse," Science Advances 3(1) e1601814 (2017) [Request PDF]

  • [Zhu, L.; Chen, J.; Liang, J.]; Xu, Q.; Gao, L.; Ma, C.; Wang, L. V.; "Space- and intensity-constrained reconstruction for compressed ultrafast photography," Optica 3(7) 694697 (2016) [Request PDF]

  • Liang, J.; Gao, L.; Hai, P.; Li, C.; Wang, L. V.; "Encrypted three-dimensional dynamic imaging using snapshot time-of-flight compressed ultrafast photography," Scientific Reports 5(15505) 1-10 (2015) [PDF]

  • [Gao, L.; Liang, J.]; Li, C.; Wang, L. V.; "Single-shot compressed ultrafast photography at one hundred billion frames per second," Nature 516(7529) 7477 (2014) [PDF]


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