Researcher's ultrafast camera snaps 70 trillion frames per second

A researcher from Caltech named Lihong Wang has created a new ultrafast camera capable of taking images extremely quickly. The ultrafast camera can snap images at a rate of 70 trillion per second. The team says in the length of time it takes a person to blink their eye; the camera can take trillions of pictures.The ultrafast camera isn't designed to take pictures of people. Instead, it's designed to take photos of phenomena such as waves of light traveling and the fluorescent decay of molecules. The official name for the camera, according to Wang, is compressed ultrafast spectral photography or CUSP. CUSP uses a laser that emits extremely short pulses of laser light lasting a femtosecond, or one quadrillionth of a second.

That high-speed laser is combined with optics and a specialized type of camera. The special optics break individual femtosecond pulses of laser light into a line of even shorter pulses. Each of those pulses is capable of producing an image inside the camera.

Wang believes that the camera he has developed could be used to open new avenues of research in fields such as metaphysics, next-generation semiconductor miniaturization, and life sciences. Wang believes that the camera will enable a variety of extremely fast phenomena to be imaged, including light propagation, wave propagation, nuclear fusion, photon transport clouds, and biological tissues, and more.

Wang worked with other researchers on the project, including co-author Peng Wang, a postdoctoral scholar in medical engineering, and Jinyang Liang. Funding for the research into the ultrafast camera was provided in part by the National Institutes of Health. Wang previously built a phase-sensitive compressed ultrafast photography device capable of imaging 1 trillion frames per second of transparent objects and phenomena.