Researchers create 100 billion fps 2D camera

Researchers have created a camera capable of imaging pulses of light. Using a technology called Compressed Ultrafast Photography, Washington University in St. Louis researchers have created a 2D receive-only camera capable of taking images at up to 100 billion frames-per-second — something that far eclipses the 10 million or so frames-per-second presently available receive-only cameras are capable of. The researchers hope the camera will lead to new scientific discoveries, with the study's leader Lihong Wang saying, "For the first time, humans can see light pulses on the fly."

Using a streak camera, the researchers added lenses, telescopes, and microscopes to develop the camera, with the lens capturing photons that are then piped to a digital micromirror device that encodes the resulting image. From there, the photons travel to a beam splitter that finally delivers them to the streak camera.

The resulting data is ultimately transferred to a computer for processing from raw info into a final image. The result of this complicated piece of equipment is the ability to capture in 2D rather than the streak camera's one-dimension recording, doing so with a much faster frame rate than has thus far been available.

The various uses for this technology are numerous, and could prove instrumental in new discoveries. Said Wang on one particularly notable use, "Combine CUP imaging with the Hubble Telescope, and we will have both the sharpest spatial resolution of the Hubble and the highest temporal solution with CUP. That combination is bound to discover new science."