In a recent study, scientists from California Institute of Technology have introduced the world’s fastest camera that can freeze time and spot a beam of light in extremely slow motion. According to the researchers, the new camera that can exceptionally capture 10 trillion frames per second (fps), is expected to offer key insights towards finding the undetectable secrets of interaction between light and matter.
The research study was detailed in a paper and published in the latest issue of journal Light: Science & Applications. The new camera was primarily built on a technology known as ‘Compressed Ultrafast Photography’ (CUP) and named T-CUP where T stands for trillion.
According to the scientists, use of conventional techniques may be appropriate for some samples but becomes difficult for fragile ones because the measurements taken by ultrafast laser pulse typically depend on precise repetition. In addition, the existing techniques are incapable of providing real-time, femtosecond, and passive imagining capabilities.
CUP could passively receive scattered or emitted photons from dynamic scenes at rate of 100 billion frames per second. As image quality provided by femtosecond streak camera would be limited, the scientists added another camera to acquire a static image. Combining the images acquired from the two camera, ‘Radon Transformation’ was used that record 10 trillion fps while obtaining high quality image.
Setting the world record for its real-time imagining speed, T-CUP technique can be applied into number of application including microscopes for biomedical and material science, in fluorescence lifetime mapping, and others.
According to several scientists, the world’s fastest camera represents a fundamental shift towards evaluating the interaction between light and matter at an unparalleled temporal resolution. It can capture scattered light intensity in a single measurement; breaking new grounds to capture real-time single femtosecond laser pulse. At an interval of 400 femtoseconds, the process was recorded in 25 frames where the light pulse changed its shape, intensity, and angle of inclination at slower motion than before.
Jinyang Liang, an engineer at COIL (Caltech Imaging Laboratory) suggested that with continuous development in streak camera technologies, there are possibilities to improve the speed up to 1 quadrillion frames per second. Such speed will provide insights and enable direct visualization of nanostructure dynamics and irreversible chemical reactions.
T-CUP has broken the speed record set by a camera in 2015 that can capture 4.4 trillion fps. The researchers believe that advancements in the existing concept will enable to spot ever-shorter events, eventually helping to discover the unexplored areas in the world of physics and biology.