A single frame from a movie showing multiple individual light pulses propagating through an optical fibre

Recording processes and events that occur on sub-nanosecond timescales poses a difficult challenge. Conventional ultrafast imaging techniques often rely on long data collection times, which can be due to limited device sensitivity and/or the requirement of scanning the detection system to form an image. Jonathan Leach and his research team at IPaQS used a single-photon avalanche detector array camera with pico-second timing accuracy to detect photons scattered by the cladding in optical fibres. They used this method to film supercontinuum generation and track a GHz pulse train in optical fibres. The single-photon sensitivity of the camera and the absence of scanning the detection system results in short total acquisition times, as low as a few seconds depending on light levels. This technology can be applied to a range of applications, e.g., the characterization of ultrafast processes, time-resolved fluorescence imaging, three-dimensional depth imaging, and tracking hidden objects around a corner.  

Scientific Reports 7, 43302