Building a micro citadel for imaging at trillions of frames per second

In this year’s annual scientific and artistic visual competition (MVC 15), Lidan Zhang, senior Ph.D student of NanoLight Group, won the third place in the “Scientific Imaging” category of the competition with her test fabrication sample, nicknamed “micro citadel”.

This image of her sample was captured by a scanning electron microscope, showcasing a Nanoscribe creation using a two-photon polymerization technique. This structure’s unique “buildings” have different heights, creating femtosecond-scale time delays that vary spatially for the incident light. Such structure, exploiting the spatially-varying time delays, allows a regular camera to capture non-repetitive ultrafast events that were once considered invisible to us. With the help of advanced post-processing algorithms, these events can be reconstructed, enabling ultrafast imaging at an astonishing speed of one trillion frames per second. 

MVC is an annual scientific and artistic visual competition sponsored by the Department of Materials Science and Engineering (MatSE) and the Materials Research Institute (MRI) at Penn State University. For more information, please refer to the official website of MVC: