World’s Fastest Camera Announced
Kyle Maxey posted on August 25, 2014 |
A new camera developed by researchers in Japan can shoot 4.4 trillion frames per second.

camera, chemistry, femtolaser, FPSA new camera, developed by researchers in Japan, has set a world record for the number of frames that can be captured in a second. Shooting approximately 4.4 trillion frames per second (fps), the new device is fast enough to image chemical reactions as they occur, bringing to life what was once impossible to see.

Developed by engineers and scientists at the University of Tokyo and Keio University, the new camera will take images with a 450x450 pixel resolution using repeated pulses of laser light that illuminate a target object.

Called femto-photography, the imaging technique shoots a femto-second period laser (10−15 of a second) towards a series of mirrors that focus the laser’s light onto a specific area of a target object. As the laser pulses, the beams disperse into their separate spectral wavelengths across an object and the entire target is resolved, creating an image that freezes time in an unprecedented way.

To demonstrate their achievement researchers claim to have captured stills of lattice vibrational waves and plasma dynamics, two phenomena that had not been observed previously.

Amazingly enough, if the new camera could shoot a single second at 4.4T fps it would stretch that instant to a scale that’s beyond comprehension. In fact, given that video runs at roughly 30fps it would take roughly 4,650.76 years of continuous playback to view an instance that passed in a flash. To put that in context, 4,650 years ago the Egyptians were still be about 100 years from the completion of the Great Pyramid of Giza, and Hammurabi wouldn’t codify laws for another eight centuries.

With the advent of this new camera maybe it’s time to replace the old adage “a picture says a thousand words” with “a picture could last 1000 lives”.

Regardless of how long it would take to view an entire sequence captured by the photographic marvel, the fact that it could give us deeper insight into chemical reactions could put this device on par with Hooke’s microscope and Daguerre’s first camera.

Researchers expect a lab ready version of their camera to be available sometime during 2016; while current efforts seek to miniaturize the 3m-long camera and perfect its performance.

Image Courtesy of Nature Photonics

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