Many ultrafast phenomena in biology and physics are fundamental to our scientific understanding but have not yet been visualized owing to the extreme speed and sensitivity requirements in imaging modalities. Two examples are the propagation of passive current flows through myelinated axons and electromagnetic pulses through dielectrics, which are both key to information processing in living organisms and electronic devices. Here, we demonstrate differentially enhanced compressed ultrafast photography (Diff-CUP) to directly visualize propagations of passive current flows at approximately 100 m/s along internodes, i.e., continuous myelinated axons between nodes of Ranvier, from Xenopus laevis sciatic nerves and of electromagnetic pulses at approximately 5 × 107 m/s through lithium niobate. The spatiotemporal dynamics of both propagation processes are consistent with the results from computational models, demonstrating that Diff-CUP can span these two extreme timescales while maintaining high phase sensitivity. With its ultrahigh speed (picosecond resolution), high sensitivity, and noninvasiveness, Diff-CUP provides a powerful tool for investigating ultrafast biological and physical phenomena.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)