The world’s fastest camera, capable of shooting at 4.4 trillion frames per second, has been developed in Japan, able to capture movement at one-sixth the speed of light. Using a new technique called Sequentially Times All-optical Mapping Photography (STAMP), the camera is around 1,000 times faster than any of its existing rivals, and opens the door to new understanding of chemical reactions and more.
For instance, using the camera, researchers have been able to photography the conduction of heat, something too fast for existing technology to see.
The STAMP system is the brainchild of the University of Tokyo and Keio University, and its speed is down to a new approach to the shutter. Rather than a mechanical or even electronic shutter, the Japanese camera uses an optical shutter, allowing it to fire in under one-trillionth of a second.
Admittedly, the resolution of your final photos isn’t going to be quite as good from a STAMP camera as, say, what’s built into your phone. The high-speed shooter produces 450 x 450 stills, which sounds relatively low but is actually on a par with similar – yet slower – cameras used in science.
Potential applications include photochemistry, spintronics, phononics, fluidics, and plasma physics, though the team behind the research believes it has broader uses than that.
For instance, in medical fields the shutter system could be used for more precise ultrasonic therapy, while chip manufacturers might use the camera to increase their laser processing control.