Optical chaotic system is a central research topic due to its scientific importance and practical relevance in key photonic applications such as laser optics and optical communication. Because of the ultrafast propagation of light, all previous studies on optical chaos are based on either static imaging or spectral measurement, which shows only time-averaged phenomena. The ability to reveal real-time optical chaotic dynamics and, hence, control its behavior is critical to the further understanding and engineering of these systems. Here, we report a real-time spatial-temporal imaging of an optical chaotic system, using compressed ultrafast photography. The time evolution of the system's phase map is imaged without repeating measurement. We also demonstrate the ability to simultaneously control and monitor optical chaotic systems in real time. Our work introduces a new angle to the study of nonrepeatable optical chaos, paving the way for fully understanding and using chaotic systems in various disciplines.
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