World’s Fastest Film Camera: When light practically stands still

Scientists have created a camera that can film at a rate equivalent to five trillion images per second.

World's Fastest Film Camera
The new camera was developed for filming chemistry and physics occurring at extreme speeds. Credit: Image courtesy of Lund University

Currently used, high-speed camera that also called hight speed film camera captures 100,000 images per second. But, it captures images sequentially. Now, a research group at Lund University in Sweden, has created a camera that can film at a rate equivalent to five trillion images per second. This world’s fast camera is faster than has previously been possible.

Researchers named this camera as FRAME (Frequency Recognition Algorithm for Multiple Exposures). The camera uses coded light flash for encryption. Whenever the coded light flash hits the object, a chemical reaction occurs in a burning flame through which the object generate an image signal with the exact same coding.

Each laser flashes have different codes and the image signals are captured in one single photograph. These coded image signals are subsequently separated using an encryption key on the computer.

For testing, researchers filmed how light travels at a distance of the thickness of a paper. Actually, it takes only a single picosecond, but the film process captures it in a trillion times. That means the camera can even capture the events short as 0.2 trillionths of a second.

Scientists developed this superfast film camera especially for researchers, who want to capture extremely rapid processes in nature.

Elias Kristensson said, “This does not apply to all processes in nature, but quite a few, for example, explosions, plasma flashes, turbulent combustion, brain activity in animals and chemical reactions. We are now able to film such extremely short processes. In the long term, the technology can also be used by industry and others.”

“Today, the only way to visualize such rapid events is to photograph still images of the process. You then have to attempt to repeat identical experiments to provide several still images which can later be edited into a movie. The problem with this approach is that it is highly unlikely that a process will be identical if you repeat the experiment.”

The major advantage of this superfast film camera, researchers are able to film how specific substances change in the same process.