Video: A Trillion-Frame-Per-Second Camera Captures Individual Photons Moving Through Space

Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - 12:30 in Physics & Chemistry

MIT Media Lab Postdoc Andreas Velten (left) and Associate Professor Ramesh Raskar of the Camera Culture Group M. Scott Brauer via MIT News Here at PopSci we love super-fast cameras and super slow-mo video, so you can imagine our glee when we heard that MIT researchers have built a camera with a visual capture rate of one trillion frames per second. That's fast enough to watch photons travel the length of a one-liter bottle in the video below. In other words, absolutely nothing in the universe looks fast to this camera. But it's not so simple as pressing "record." The rig is built as a "streak camera," a fairly new innovation in which the aperture of the camera is a narrow slit. Photons enter through the slit and are turned roughly 90 degrees by an electric field, sending them off in a direction perpendicular to the slit. The electric field is...

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