A new paper from our group that goes one step beyond the ‘light in a bottle’ paper.
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.