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Real-TIME probing of Ultrafast Phenomena

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - UPTIME (Real-TIME probing of Ultrafast Phenomena)

Reporting period: 2018-02-01 to 2020-01-31

The perception of the world surrounding us depends on how we illuminate and capture it. For example, our direct observation of high-speed phenomena is limited by the speed of the human visual system. A well known method to visualize fast events is to capture them at very high frame rates with high-speed cameras, and then play the movie in slow-motion, enabling us to understand what happens at short timescales.

The ultimate goal of this project is to develop the fastest camera on earth, able not only to visualize the changing morphology and position of an object under investigation, but also to simultaneously capture in depth spectroscopic information in both temporal and spectral domains – all of these at unprecedented speeds, several orders of magnitude faster than the current state of the art.

For the first time, this will enable the simultaneous high-speed visualization and the spatio-spectro-temporal investigation of dynamic phenomena, at timescales never before accessible. This will enable us to gain unique insights into very fast transformations and irreversible phenomena in physics, biology and engineering.

The unique insights which UPTIME will allow into the processes at work in fast irreversible processes such as – for example - chemical reactions, phase transitions or laser ablation will enable the generation of new knowledge that can then be exploited towards the optimization and/or development of new processes, with a profound technological and economic significance.
Research is currently under way on novel approaches to ultrashort pulse generation and amplification in semiconductor lasers and amplifiers, which will be instrumental to the development of the novel high-speed sensing techniques envisaged in this project.
UPTIME will develop high-speed sensing tools several orders of magnitude faster than what is currently available, allowing us to open up entirely new perspectives into the behaviour of the world at such short timescales.