Scientists from Russia have created ultra-fast holographic camera

© Photo : University Amalinze holographic camera developed by Russian physicists, and laser spark (left)Scientists from Russia have created ultra-fast holographic camera© Photo : ITMO University

Physics of the ITMO University have created ultra-fast digital camera, able to obtain three-dimensional pictures of microscopic objects with a speed of 20 trillion frames per second, according to a paper published in the journal Applied Physics Letters.

«Theoretically, this camera can capture even the electron jump to another orbit. But most importantly, we can now study the viability of the cells is not passive, and initiating them into certain processes. For example, warming or moving the viruses, individual cells and their structure in space using femtosecond laser pulses,» says Arseny Chepegin from ITMO University in St. Petersburg, whose word brings the press service of the University.

Many processes in the cells of our body and in other parts of the microcosm are happening at lightning speed, in a fraction of a nanosecond or even less time. In recent years, physicists and biologists have learned to monitor them using ultra-short, but powerful pulses of lasers that last a few tens of femtoseconds, quadrillion fractions of a second.

The problem is that such outbreaks are usually incompatible with living tissues and three-dimensional structures, as they are or damaged during irradiation with x-rays, or allow you to continually monitor the processes within them. In addition, many of these methods require a «backlight» of interest to scientists of molecules and parts of cells using a special luminous molecules, which is also not always possible in such experiments.

To solve this problem, Chepegin and his colleagues created an ultrafast system for recording holograms that allows you to scan a three-dimensional shape of the object roughly 20 trillion times per second, using a series of laser pulses arranged in an unusual way.

How to tell the scientists, their camera breaks in a single flash of the laser on three beams, each of which plays its own role. First, the powerful momentum, collides with the molecules within cells or other structures photographed and excites them, and the second beam passes through it later from another side and scatters their atoms.

The third beam, in turn, passes the sample and is then connected with the second pulse and generates two holographic images. These images are then processed and «subtracted» from each other by means of a computer, allowing you to get a clean picture of the photographed object.

This approach, as noted by the researchers, allows to obtain a clear three-dimensional images without the need to increase the image contrast or make samples thin enough for their «prosvetni» laser.

To illustrate the efficiency of this «holocamera» Chibagin and his colleagues received the photos of the so-called «filament» is the spark that occurs in air as it passes through a laser beam.

The speed of the camera and its resolution, as the researchers note, can be increased, if to increase the power and reduce the duration of the initial laser pulse. In principle, as noted by Chepegin, nothing prevents to improve such system to such an extent that it will be able to monitor not only the movement of individual cells, but also of electrons inside atoms and molecules.