Enabling time resolved microscopy with random Raman lasing.
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Optical imaging of fast events and processes is essential for understanding dynamics of complex systems. A bright flash of illuminating light is required to acquire sufficient number of photons for superior image quality. Laser pulses can provide extreme brightness and are typically employed to achieve high temporal resolution; however, the high degree of coherence associated with the lasing process degrades the image quality with speckle formation. Random lasers are low-coherence sources of stimulated emission and do not suffer from speckle, but are rather broadband and have a relatively low output power limiting the scope of their potential applications. In this report, we demonstrate the use of random Raman lasing as a novel imaging light source with unprecedented brightness for a speckle-free and narrowband light source. We showcase the advantages of a random Raman laser to image the nanosecond scale dynamics of cavitation formation in water and quantitatively compare these images to those taken with incoherent fluorescent emission and coherent laser light as illumination source.