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innovation | Video clips at 12,000 frames per second

The Quebec genius has made a breakthrough in the world of ultra-fast single-pixel photography. In fact, Professor Jinyang Liang and his team have patented a device that can stream video at 12,000 frames per second using light modulation.

In order to understand the benefit of this innovation implemented in the National Institute for Scientific Research (INRS), Professor Liang started the interview with a background. “Most smartphones and cameras use 2D sensors, which are only useful with frequencies of light that our eyes can see,” he explains. To reach a broader spectrum of light, such as ultraviolet and varying degrees of infrared, 2D sensors cannot. Unless you have an expensive camera, which offers very low performance. »

promising model

Single pixel technology is an attractive option. Unfortunately, cameras of this type that already exist are limiting. “If I want to use a single-pixel camera to capture something that is moving fast enough, there is no hope,” says the professor.

Researchers found ways to solve this problem: punch holes in a piece of metal and move it around quickly. “It works and is better, but the metal filter has to be fixed. If I want to change something, I have to design another filter to reconfigure everything. It lacks flexibility.”

This is where Professor Liang and his team’s flexible, ultra-fast prototype changes the game.

Our device retains the advantages of existing devices, and gets rid of the disadvantages.

Jinyang Liang, professor at the National Institute of Scientific Research

It is a small revolution in photonics, the branch of physics that focuses on the study and manufacture of components that allow optical signals to be generated, transmitted, processed or converted.

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years of development

It took two years of work, multiple brainstorming sessions, and months of work to come up with a working prototype. A process that Jinyang Liang describes as organic and challenging. Especially when he thinks about the supply chain during the pandemic. “When certain products were no longer available, it sometimes drove us crazy when we found that the suppliers didn’t know when they would be available again. We had to constantly develop alternatives and plan our Plan (B).”

Led by student Patrick Kilcullen, the project has led to the creation of a camera that can be used to take pictures of the optical properties of some nanoparticles and to study combustion.

If we used an ordinary camera to analyze the fire, we would go blind, because the flames are so bright. Our camera can filter out a lot of this light and analyze what’s going on.

Jinyang Liang, professor at the National Institute of Scientific Research

He also wants to integrate the device into the terahertz detection system for airport monitors. We will explore that in the future. »

Very excited by the commercial potential of the innovation, the researchers want to attract companies and push the research even further. “It will take several years to commercialize the new version of the camera.”