Structured illumination (SI), which is an imaging technique that is employed in a variety of fields, permits unique possibilities to suppress unwanted signal contributions that carry misguiding information such as out-of-focus light or multiply scattered light. So far SI has been applied mostly for averaged imaging or for imaging of slowly occurring events because it requires three acquisitions (subimages) to construct the final SI image. This prerequisite puts technological constraints on SI that make “instantaneous” imaging of fast transient processes (occurring on submicrosecond time scales) very challenging and expensive. Operating SI with fewer subimages generates errors in the form of residual lines that stretch across the image. Here, a new approach that circumvents this limiting factor is presented and experimentally demonstrated. By judiciously choosing the intensity modulation, it is possible to extract an SI image from two subimages only. This development will allow standard double-pulsed lasers and interline transfer CCD or scientific CMOS cameras to be used to acquire temporally frozen SI images of rapidly occurring processes as well as to boost the frame-rate of current SI video systems; a technical advancement that will benefit both macro- and microscopic imaging applications.
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