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Nat Commun. 2015 Jan 27;6:6021. doi: 10.1038/ncomms7021.

Single-photon sensitive light-in-fight imaging.

Author information

1
Institute of Photonics and Quantum Sciences, Heriot-Watt University, David Brewster Building, Edinburgh EH14 4AS, UK.
2
1] Institute for Micro and Nano Systems, University of Edinburgh, Alexander Crum Brown Road, Edinburgh EH9 3FF, UK [2] Queen's Medical Research Institute, University of Edinburgh, 47 Little France Crescent, Edinburgh EH16 4TJ, UK.
3
Institute for Micro and Nano Systems, University of Edinburgh, Alexander Crum Brown Road, Edinburgh EH9 3FF, UK.
4
Camera Culture, MIT Media Lab, MIT, 75 Amherst Street, E14-474, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA.

Abstract

The ability to record images with extreme temporal resolution enables a diverse range of applications, such as fluorescence lifetime imaging, time-of-flight depth imaging and characterization of ultrafast processes. Recently, ultrafast imaging schemes have emerged, which require either long acquisition times or raster scanning and have a requirement for sufficient signal that can only be achieved when light is reflected off an object or diffused by a strongly scattering medium. Here we present a demonstration of the potential of single-photon detector arrays for visualization and rapid characterization of events evolving on picosecond time scales. The single-photon sensitivity, temporal resolution and full-field imaging capability enables the observation of light-in-flight in air, as well as the measurement of laser-induced plasma formation and dynamics in its natural environment. The extreme sensitivity and short acquisition times pave the way for real-time imaging of ultrafast processes or visualization and tracking of objects hidden from view.

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