High-speed imaging is an indispensable technology for blur-free observation of fast transient dynamics in virtually all areas including science, industry, defense, energy, and medicine. Unfortunately, the frame rates of conventional cameras are significantly constrained by their data transfer bandwidth and onboard storage. We demonstrate a two-dimensional dynamic imaging technique, compressed ultrafast photography (CUP), which can capture non-repetitive time-evolving events at up to 100 billion fps. Compared with existing ultrafast imaging techniques, CUP has a prominent advantage of measuring an x, y, t (x, y, spatial coordinates; t, time) scene with a single camera snapshot, thereby allowing observation of transient events occurring on a time scale down to tens of picoseconds. Thanks to the CUP technology, for the first time, the human can see light pulses on the fly. Because this technology advances the imaging frame rate by orders of magnitude, we now enter a new regime and open new visions.
In this talk, I will discuss our recent effort to develop a second-generation CUP system and demonstrate its applications at scales from macroscopic to microscopic. For the first time, we imaged photonic Mach cones and captured "Sonic Boom" of light in action. Moreover, by adapting CUP for microscopy, we enabled two-dimensional fluorescence lifetime imaging at an unprecedented speed. The advantage of CUP recording is that even visually simple systems can be scientifically interesting when they are captured at such a high speed. Given CUP's capability, we expect it to find widespread applications in both fundamental and applied sciences including biomedical research.
Dr. Liang Gao is currently an Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering department at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He is also affiliated with Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology. His primary research interests encompass multidimensional optical imaging, including hyperspectral imaging and ultrafast imaging, photoacoustic tomography and microscopy, and cost-effective high-performance optics for diagnostics. Dr. Liang Gao is the author of more than 30 peer-reviewed publications in top-tier journals, such as Nature, Science Advances, Physics Report, and Annual Review of Biomedical Engineering. He received his BS degree in Physics from Tsinghua University in 2005 and Ph.D. degree in Applied Physics and Bioengineering from Rice University in 2011. Dr. Liang Gao is a recipient of NSF CAREER award in 2017.