Edoardo Charbon's research featured in "Physics"

© 2021 EPFL

© 2021 EPFL

The latest scientific article by Edoardo Charbon, director of the quantum architecture laboratory, has been selected by the journal "Physics".

The article « Superluminal Motion-Assisted Four-Dimensional Light-in-Flight Imaging », by Professor Charbon and colleagues, from the School of Engineering, has been chosen as the highlight of the scientific journal Physics. Under the title « Capturing the Path of a Light Pulse », the professor's research has been made accessible to the general public.

Physics is a free, online magazine from the American Physical Society. It covers news, opinions, and highlight papers from the Physical Review journals. It focuses on results that will change the course of research, inspire a new way of thinking, or simply spark curiosity. It highlights about 260 papers a year, chosen from about 20,000 papers. 

Scientific abstract
Advances in high-speed imaging techniques have opened new possibilities for capturing ultrafast phenomena such as light propagation in air or through media. Capturing light in flight in three-dimensional space has been reported based on various types of imaging systems, whereas reconstruction of light-in-flight information in the fourth dimension has been a challenge. We demonstrate the four-dimensional light-in-flight imaging based on the observation of a superluminal motion captured by a new time-gated megapixel single-photon avalanche diode camera. A high-resolution light-in-flight video is generated without laser scanning, camera translation, interpolation, or dark noise subtraction. An unsupervised machine-learning technique is applied to analyze the measured spatiotemporal data set. A theoretical formula is introduced to perform least-square regression for numerically solving a nonlinear inverse problem, and extra-dimensional information is recovered without prior knowledge. The algorithm relies on the mathematical formulation equivalent to the superluminal motion in astrophysics, which is scaled by a factor of a quadrillionth. The reconstructed light-in-flight trajectory shows good agreement with the actual geometry of the light path. Applicability of the reconstruction approach to more complex scenes with multiple overlapped light trajectories is verified based on a data set generated by Monte Carlo simulations. Our approach could potentially provide novel functionalities to high-speed imaging applications such as non-line-of-sight imaging and time-resolved optical tomography.