Ultrafast optical imaging based on optical time stretch technology enables continuous high-throughput imaging at unprecedented speed of tens of million frames per second, making it a powerful tool in scientific research, engineering and medicine. However, mostly overlooked challenges in ultrafast optical imaging are sacrificed spatial resolution and high optical loss, originated from optical diffraction devices used in the imaging systems. Conventional free-space diffraction gratings suffer from several inherent drawbacks: limited diffraction efficiency, high space-fiber coupling loss, bulky footprint and high cost.
A research team led by Dr Chao Wang, Senior Lecturer in the School of Engineering and Digital Arts, has recently developed a novel low-cost and compact in-fiber diffraction device offering greatly enhanced diffraction efficiency (up to 97%), and inherent compatibility with optical fibers. This device has been successfully applied in ultrafast time stretch imaging for the first time, demonstrating greener and resolution-improved high-throughput real-time imaging.
This work, recently published in Scientific Reports, is a collaborative effort with Aston University, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, and Tianjin University. The lead author of this research is an EDA PhD student, Mr Guoqing Wang. The paper can be viewed here https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-18920-8
This research was supported by an EU Marie Curie Career Integration Grant project NULTIS.