Acquiring ultrafast and high spectral resolution optical images is key to measure transient physical or chemical processes, such as photon propagation, plasma dynamics, and femtosecond chemical reactions. At a trillion Hz frame rate, most ultrafast imaging modalities can acquire only a limited number of frames. Here, we present a compressed ultrafast spectral-temporal (CUST) photographic technique, enabling both an ultrahigh frame rate of 3.85 trillion Hz and a large frame number. We demonstrate that CUST photography records 60 frames, enabling precisely recording light propagation, reflection, and self-focusing in nonlinear media over 30 ps. CUST photography has the potential to further increase the frame number beyond hundreds of frames. Using spectral-temporal coupling, CUST photography can record multiple frames with a subnanometer spectral resolution with a single laser exposure, enabling ultrafast spectral imaging. CUST photography with high frame rate, high spectral resolution, and high frame number in a single modality offer a new tool for observing many transient phenomena with high temporal complexity and high spectral precision.
Physical Review Letters