New Type of Imaging: Fastest Camera

Researchers at the UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles, US) Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Sciences have developed the serial time-encoded amplified microscopy (STEAM) technology. It is a novel, continuously running camera that enables real-time imaging at a frame rate of more than 6 MHz and a shutter speed of less than 450ps – roughly a thousand times faster than any conventional camera. Keisuke Goda, Kevin Tsia and team leader Bahram Jalali describe a new approach that does not require a traditional CCD (charge-couples device) or CMOS (complementary metal-oxide semiconductor) video camera. The new imager operates by capturing each picture with an ultrashort laser pulse. It then converts each pulse to a serial data stream that resembles the data in a fiber optic network rather than the signal coming out of the camera. Using a technique known as amplified dispersive Fourier transform, these laser pulses, each containing an entire picture, are amplified and simultaneously stretched in time to the point that they are slow enough to be captured with an electronic digitizer. Those cameras could be used for observing high-speed events such as shockwaves, communication between cells, neural activity or laser surgery.
www.ucla.edu

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