World’s fastest camera can capture chemical reactions in action

Japanese researchers have unveiled the world’s fastest camera that captures 4.4 trillion frames every second. The results are up to 1,000 times faster than any camera before it. It uses a technique called sequentially timed all-optical mapping photography (STAMP) and is so fast it can capture chemical reactions frame by frame. The camera has been in development for three years and details of it have now been published in the journal Nature Photonics.

The principle of this method—’motion picture femtophotography’—is all-optical mapping of the target’s time-varying spatial profile onto a burst stream of sequentially timed photographs with spatial and temporal dispersion.

Japanese researchers who unveiled the world’s fastest camera

The researchers detailed how they successfully photographed the conduction of heat, a process which is a sixth of the speed of light. There are a range of uses for such a camera, among them manufacturing fields that use laser cutting. Team member professor Keisuke Goda, from the University of Tokyo, said the aim is to refine the camera to reduce its significant bulk. It currently measures around 1 square metre in size. The pixel density is low compared to a typical camera—450 x 450—but is impressive by high-speed camera standards.