Reserachers at Lund Univeristy in Sweden have developed a camera that captures images at a rate equivalent to 5 trillion frames per second, quintupling the previous high mark.
To illustrate the technology, the researchers have successfully filmed how light – a collection of photons – travels a distance corresponding to the thickness of a paper. In reality, it only takes a picosecond, but on film the process has been slowed down by a trillion times.
Currently, high-speed cameras capture images one by one in a sequence. The new technology is based on an innovative algorithm, and instead captures several coded images in one picture. It then sorts them into a video sequence afterwards.
In short, the method involves exposing what you are filming (for example a chemical reaction) to light in the form of laser flashes where each light pulse is given a unique code. The object reflects the light flashes which merge into the single photograph. They are subsequently separated using an encryption key.
• The world’s fastest film camera: when light practically stands still (YouTube / LundUniversity via PetaPixel)
Randall Munroe's "Good Question" column in the New York Times is in the vein of his How To and What If books, in which he answers weird science questions with equally weird thoroughness.
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