This camera is so fast, it makes light stand still

JC Torres - May 4, 2017, 4:30am CDT
This camera is so fast, it makes light stand still

Sony might boast of a 1,000 fps CMOS and Samsung might flaunt its 240 fps slo-mo on the Galaxy S8. Neither, however, has anything on this camera that could probably even catch The Flash in action. Besting even scientific high-speed cameras and their 100,000 fps rates, this image capturing device developed by Lund University researchers can record video at an mind-blowing rate of five trillion images per second. In short, 5,000,000,000,000 fps.

To demonstrate the astounding power of this camera, the researchers had this video to share.

If that looked alien to you, don’t worry, you aren’t the only one. After all, very few are able to see light, made up of photons, traveling through something as thin as paper. It is impossible for the naked eye to even visualize that because it all takes place in a picosend, or 1/1,000,000,000,000 (one trillionth) of a second. Slowed down by this camera, it almost makes light look light it wasn’t moving at all, something that is physically impossible.

The Lund University researchers were able to accomplish this feat by being really smart about how the images are captured. Normally, high-speed cameras shoot multiple images in rapid succession, which are then compiled into a video clip. There are, however, limits imposed by physics and economy that prevent such camera sensors from going beyond their limits.

In contrast, the Lund camera captures several images into a single picture, which is later cut up and arranged. Think of it like taking a super high resolution image, cutting it up into smaller, lower resolution pieces, and stitching them all up into a video. In this case, the camera flashes pulses of light, each of which contains a unique code that an algorithm can use to identify each “frame” and arrange them according to chronological sequence.

Although definitely a record breaker, the researchers are less interested about records as they are about the new scientific worlds the camera opens up. Like the movement of light, there are processes and phenomena in nature that are near impossible to observe, even with current high-speed cameras. Those range from explosions to brain activity to chemical reactions, all of which are now fair game for scientists to record and observe.

SOURCE: Lund University


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