M.I.T. Camera Captures Speed of Light: A Trillion-Frames-Per-Second

Think of it as the ultimate slow-motion movie camera. Researchers at M.I.T. have developed an imaging system so fast it can trace the motion of pulses of light as they travel through liquids and solids. To put it into perspective, writes John Markoff in The New York Times, “If a bullet were tracked in the same fashion moving through the same fluid, the resulting movie would last three years.”

The research was directed by Ramesh Raskar of the Camera Culture group at the M.I.T. Media Lab. In an abstract, the research team writes:

We have built an imaging solution that allows us to visualize the propagation of light. The effective exposure time of each frame is two trillionths of a second and the resultant visualization depicts the movement of light at roughly half a trillion frames per second. Direct recording of reflected or scattered light at such a frame rate with sufficient brightness is nearly impossible. We use an indirect ‘stroboscopic’ method that records millions of repeated measurements by careful scanning in time and viewpoints. Then we rearrange the data to create a ‘movie’ of a nanosecond long event.

You can learn more by watching the video above by Melanie Gonick of the M.I.T. News Office, or by visiting the project website.

via Kottke

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  • M.Nouman says:

    Camera Technology Which Captures With the Speed of Light:
    MT-Media lab researchers have developed such imaging device that acquires the visually graphical of traveling of light from a body. It comprises one-trillion frames per second to capture the image. In easy words, it has ability of transferring one –trillion data work per second.

  • Steve Gibson says:

    Filming a a trillion frames per second? Big deal ! When will they be able to do it in 3D so we can watch at the multiplex?

  • A. Nonymous says:

    “… now we can do ultrasound with light” – Okay, it has been two years. Let’s see it!
    The raw laser images are monochromatic. Where do you get color? Ideally you need a red, a green, and a blue laser to get RGB color. (Not guaranteed.) Subtleties missing from your color sequences suggest that you are using a single laser image sequence and colorizing it by mapping it onto the original photograph.

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