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Wednesday
January 27th, 2016
7:00-8:30 PM

Kirkwood Station Brewing Co., Kirkwood, MO

Compressed Ultrafast Photography
World's Fastest 2D Receive-Only Camera
Captures Light Propagation at Light Speed

Lihong Wang, Ph.D.

Gene K. Beare Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Moderated by: Cynthia Wichelman, M.D.


Capturing transient scenes at a high imaging speed has been pursued by photographers for centuries, tracing back to Muybridge's 1878 recording of a horse in motion and Mach's 1887 photography of a supersonic bullet. However, not until the late 20th century were breakthroughs achieved in demonstrating ultrahigh speed imaging (>100 thousand frames per second, or fps). In particular, the introduction of electronic imaging sensors — such as the charge-coupled device (CCD) and complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) sensors — revolutionized high-speed photography, enabling acquisition rates up to millions of fps. Despite these sensors' widespread impact, further increasing frame rates using CCD or CMOS is fundamentally limited by their on-chip storage and electronic readout speed. Here we demonstrate a two-dimensional (2D) 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 scene (x, y, spatial coordinates; t, time) with a single camera snapshot, thereby allowing observation of transient events occurring on a time scale down to tens of picoseconds. Further, akin to traditional photography, CUP is receive-only — avoiding specialized active illumination required by other single-shot ultrafast imagers. As a result, CUP can image a variety of self-illuminating or luminescent — such as fluorescent or bioluminescent — objects. Using CUP, we visualize four fundamental physical phenomena with single laser shots only: laser pulse reflection, refraction, photon racing in two media, and faster-than-light propagation of non-information. Given the capabilities of CUP, we expect it to find widespread applications in both fundamental and applied sciences including biomedical research.

Science On Tap highlighted on St. Louis Public Radio and Voice of America!

Science On Tap is a place where, for the price of a beverage, anyone can come to explore the latest ideas in science and technology. Meetings take place outside a traditional academic context, at the Kirkwood Station Restaurant & Brewing Co.


Meetings are held on the last Wednesday of the month during the academic year, usually from 7:00 - 8:30 PM. The standard format is as follows: about 45 minutes of presentation, followed by discussion until 8:30 PM.

Kirkwood Station Restaurant & Brewing Co.
105 E. Jefferson Ave.
Kirdwood, MO 63122
(314)966-2739

Register to receive e-mail announcements of future Science On Tap events.

Interested in learning about medicine? Check out Washington University's Mini-Medical School!

For more information: e-mail scienceontap@wustl.edu
or call (314) 935-9495

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