Observation of laser pulse propagation in optical fibers with a SPAD camera

Ryan E. Warburton, Constantin Aniculaesei, Matteo Clerici, Yoann Altmann, Geneviève Gariépy, Richard Alexander McCracken, Derryck Telford Reid, Stephen McLaughlin, Marco Petrovich, John Hayes, Robert Henderson, Daniele Franco Angelo Faccio, Jonathan Leach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)
54 Downloads (Pure)


Recording processes and events that occur on sub-nanosecond timescales poses a difficult challenge. Conventional ultrafast imaging techniques often rely on long data collection times, which can be due to limited device sensitivity and/or the requirement of scanning the detection system to form an image. In this work, we use a single-photon avalanche detector array camera with pico-second timing accuracy to detect photons scattered by the cladding in optical fibers. We use this method to film supercontinuum generation and track a GHz pulse train in optical fibers. We also show how the limited spatial resolution of the array can be improved with computational imaging. The single-photon sensitivity of the camera and the absence of scanning the detection system results in short total acquisition times, as low as a few seconds depending on light levels. Our results allow us to calculate the group index of different wavelength bands within the supercontinuum generation process. This technology can be applied to a range of applications, e.g., the characterization of ultrafast processes, time-resolved fluorescence imaging, three-dimensional depth imaging, and tracking hidden objects around a corner.
Original languageEnglish
Article number43302
Number of pages8
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 7 Mar 2017


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