Digital Cameras

World's fastest film camera shoots at five trillion images per second

World's fastest film camera sh...
The world's fastest film camera can now record some five trillion frames per second.
The world's fastest film camera can now record some five trillion frames per second.
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The world's fastest film camera can now record some five trillion frames per second.
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The world's fastest film camera can now record some five trillion frames per second.
The world's fastest camera, millions of times faster than commercial grade slow-mo cams like the Phantom Flex
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The world's fastest camera, millions of times faster than commercial grade slow-mo cams like the Phantom Flex
Researchers hope to use the new ultra-fast camera to shed light on some of the fastest chemical processes we know of
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Researchers hope to use the new ultra-fast camera to shed light on some of the fastest chemical processes we know of

Forget watching water balloons pop or bullets tearing through fruit. The next generation of super-fast camera is 15 and a bit million times faster than a commercial slow-mo camera like a Phantom Flex, and can show the movement of light itself.

A research group at Lund University in Sweden has demonstrated a camera with the ability to film at some five trillion images per second.

That's not five trillion discrete frames per second, mind you. In order to split time down that finely, the camera pulls several images out of a single frame. While the "shutter" is open, several different laser light flashes hit the subject. Each laser flash is visually coded, so it can be separated from the rest of the information in the frame afterwards using a decryption key.

In this way, it's quite similar to the previous 'world's fastest camera' record holder out of the University of Tokyo, which managed a paltry 4.4 trillion frames per second.

As for what such a thing might be useful for? Most likely scientific and industrial research, where it's quick enough to visually track processes that occur on a picosecond or femtosecond scale. The research team that invented the process spends most of its time working on combustion, which is reasonably well understood at the macro level, but is driven by a number of ultra-fast processes at the molecular level.

The team will use the camera to document the chemistry of plasma discharges, the initiations of different chemical reactions, and the lifetime of quantum states, both in combustion situations and in biological tissue.

Lord knows how big a camera card you'd need ... If you recorded the blink of an eye (which takes around 0.3 seconds) and then played it back at a nice cinematic 24 frames per second, it would take a little under two thousand years to watch.

Check out the video below, which is mercifully shorter:

The world’s fastest film camera: when light practically stands still

Source: Lund University

4 comments
aksdad
So it doesn't, in actuality, shoot 5 trillion images in a second. It shoots a handful of images at a shutter speed of 0.2 picoseconds using super fast laser pulses as strobe lights. Shutter speed and frames per second are entirely different things, fyi.
Imran Sheikh
Capturing a traveling photon's image would be an Irony.. if it ever can..
MD
aksdad.. The "per" in the title is the giveaway. "per" indicates a rate, not a shutter speed, nor the number of actual "things" which can be done in the stated time period. (Rate is the time derivative of total system cycles which can be achieved, not limited merely to "shutter speed"). If the "camera" can actually sustain its image capture for one second, the yes the 5 trillion images may be able to be "temporally resolved" and recorded (as Loz mentioned that would need a fairly large SD card... lol). The article does say that several (unspecified number) images are recorded at a single "shutter opening" using "coded laser pulses", reducing the technicality for the 0.2 ps "shutter speed"- not (likely to be) actually possible with any sort of mechanical shutter, so it is more likely a "virtual" shutter. It is the same as the oft stated "rate of fire" of a machine gun, eg. 6000rps, but getting a gunner to actually feed in 6000 bullets every second is the hard thing to achieve. A short burst rate may be achieved, but sustained for any significant period of time, "not a chance" (or a very slim one). lol.
JimFox
It is BLINDINGLY OBVIOUS that such a device has not been designed to run for such a long time as a whole second! MD gets it, others don't. Did you others miss this paragtaph??-- "As for what such a thing might be useful for? Most likely scientific and industrial research, where it's quick enough to visually track processes that occur on a picosecond or femtosecond scale." Then you need to look up the terms 'pico' & 'femto'...