Compressed Ultrafast Photography (CUP): Imaging Light-speed Events in a Snapshot

Jinyang Liang

INRS, Canada Abstract


Single-shot real-time video recording of a propagating photonic Mach cone using compressed ultrafast photography (CUP) at 100 billion frames per second

Direct imaging of transient events can greatly aid the understanding of many underlying principles in materials science, chemistry, and biology. These events, often probabilistic and occurring at sub-nanosecond time scales, require real-time imaging at ultra-high temporal resolutions. However, established ultrafast imaging methods fall short due to their requirement for repetitive measurements. To overcome these limitations, we have developed compressed ultrafast photography (CUP)—the world’s fastest imaging technology with an imaging speed of up to 10 trillion frames per second [Light: Science & Application 7 44 (2018)]. CUP has made first-ever real-time recording of a number of optical phenomena, including faster-than-light propagation of non-information, laser-pumped fluorescence emission [Nature 516 74-77 (2014)], time-resolved light backscattering [Scientific Reports 5 15504 (2015)], and propagating photonic Mach cones [Science Advances 3 e1601814 (2017)]. Given CUP’s passive, ultrafast, and real-time imaging capability, we envision it to facilitate widespread applications in both fundamental and applied sciences.