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Single-shot ultrafast tomographic imaging by spectral multiplexing

Nature Communications volume 3, Article number: 1111 (2012) | Download Citation


Computed tomography has profoundly impacted science, medicine and technology by using projection measurements scanned over multiple angles to permit cross-sectional imaging of an object. The application of computed tomography to moving or dynamically varying objects, however, has been limited by the temporal resolution of the technique, which is set by the time required to complete the scan. For objects that vary on ultrafast timescales, traditional scanning methods are not an option. Here we present a non-scanning method capable of resolving structure on femtosecond timescales by using spectral multiplexing of a single laser beam to perform tomographic imaging over a continuous range of angles simultaneously. We use this technique to demonstrate the first single-shot ultrafast computed tomography reconstructions and obtain previously inaccessible structure and position information for laser-induced plasma filaments. This development enables real-time tomographic imaging for ultrafast science, and offers a potential solution to the challenging problem of imaging through scattering surfaces.

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We acknowledge Fulvio Parmigiani, Anthony J. Gonsalves, Daniel Mittelberger and Thomas Sokollik for their valuable contributions. This work was supported by the Director, Office of Science, Office of High Energy Physics, of the US Department of Energy under Contract No. DE-AC02-05CH11231 and by DARPA.

Author information


  1. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, California 94720, USA.

    • N.H. Matlis
    • , A. Axley
    •  & W.P. Leemans
  2. University of California, Berkeley, California 94720, USA.

    • W.P. Leemans


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N.H.M. designed and executed the experiments, analysed the data and was the primary author of the paper. A.A. contributed to setup and execution of experiments as well as data analysis, and was an author of the paper. N.H.M. and W.P.L. conceived of the technique. W.P.L. supervised the project and was an author of the paper.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to N.H. Matlis.

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