Science and Tech: Japanese universities develop new world's fastest camera

Schematic of STAMP. Credit: (c) Nature Photonics (2014) doi:10.1038/nphoton.2014.163

Researchers working at two universities in Japan have jointly developed what is being described as the world's fastest camera. A photo-device with a frame interval of 4.4 trillion frames per second. In their paper published in the journal Nature Photonics, the team describes how their camera works, its capabilities and the extensive work that went into its creation.

High speed cameras allow researchers and everyday people alike the ability to see things that they wouldn't be able to otherwise, from slowdown of sports play to mechanical processes. Prior to the announcement in Japan, the fastest cameras relied on what's known as a pump-probe process—where light is "pumped" at an object to be photographed, and then "probed" for absorption. The main drawback to such an approach is that it requires repetitive measurements to construct an image. The new camera is motion-based femtophotography, performing single-shot bursts for image acquisition, which means it has no need for repetitive measurements. It works via optical mapping of an object's spatial profile which varies over time. Its abilities make it 1000 times as fast as cameras it supersedes. In addition to the extremely high frame rate, the camera also has a high pixel resolution (450 × 450).

Developed by a joint team of researchers from Keio University and the University of Tokyo, the camera is set to capture images of things and events that until now have not been impossible. With technology the team has named Sequentially Timed All-optical Mapping Photography, or STAMP for short, the camera is poised to be used to capture chemical reactions, lattice vibrational waves, plasma dynamics, even heat conduction, which the researchers note occurs at approximately a sixth the speed that light travels.

read complete details at http://phys.org/news/2014-08-japanese-universities-world-fastest-camera.html

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