Many phenomena of interest in nature and industry occur rapidly and are difficult and cost-prohibitive to visualize properly without specialized cameras. Here we describe in detail the virtual frame technique (VFT), a simple, useful, and accessible mode of imaging that increases the frame acquisition rate of any camera by several orders of magnitude by leveraging its dynamic range. The VFT is a powerful tool for capturing rapid phenomenon where the dynamics facilitate a transition between two states, and are thus binary. The advantages of the VFT are demonstrated by examining such dynamics in five physical processes at unprecedented rates and spatial resolution: fracture of an elastic solid, wetting of a solid surface, rapid fingerprint reading, peeling of adhesive tape, and impact of an elastic hemisphere on a hard surface. We show that the performance of the VFT exceeds that of any commercial high-speed camera not only in rate of imaging but also in field of view, achieving a 65MHz frame rate at 4MPx resolution. Finally, we discuss the performance of the VFT with several commercially available conventional and high-speed cameras. In principle, modern cell phones can achieve imaging rates of over a million frames per second using the VFT.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
J.M.K. acknowledges funding from EMSI and EPFL. This work was partially supported by the National Science Foundation through the Harvard Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (DMR-1420570). SMR acknowledges support from the Alfred P. Sloan research foundation.
© 2019 Optical Society of America