Ultra-fast flashes of light filmed at FOUR TRILLION frames per second

Ultra-fast flashes of light recorded at FOUR TRILLION frames per second

Ultra-fast flashes of light filmed at FOUR TRILLION frames per second
Ultra high-speed camera: Light have been filmed at four trillion fps (Image: Y.Lue et al., Phys. Rev. Lett)

Scientists have doubled the duration limits on ultra-high-speed cameras actually capable of capturing light itself. The cutting-edge cameras developed by Xi’an Jiaotong University and City University of Hong Kong scientists, have made significant improvements on the previous generation of devices, and can capture trillions of frames per second. While the last crop of cameras could only film in extremely short durations of a few shots, researchers say their method can capture up to 60 shots, allowing the path of light to be more comprehensively tracked.

The latest development improves on previous versions of the cameras which were limited in their storage capabilities.

The new “compressive sampling” method allows the images to overlap.

With an increase number of shots, researchers hope that ultra-fast imaging can be more easily used in a number of applications, some of which lie within the field of optics.

Dr Jinyang Liang, a computational imaging expert at the University of Quebec, said: “The experiments demonstrate a remarkable imaging speed.


Ultra high-speed camera: The latest development improves on previous versions (Image: Y.Lue et al., Phys. Rev. Lett)

“With further development, it might also be used as an advanced imaging tool to inspect biological samples in laser surgeries and imaging-based disease diagnosis.”

The development builds upon devices like the one recently designed by Dr Liang capable of capture light at 10 trillion frames per second announced last year.

However, that camera was only capable of capturing about 25fps because of limitations in its storage less than half the amount of the newest technology from Chinese researchers.

And this technology, said Dr Liang, could even improve further to capture an almost unfathomable amount of frames.

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He said: “We already see possibilities for increasing the speed to up to one quadrillion (1015) frames per second.”

Already researchers say they are looking to improve the length of movies made with the ultra-fast imaging.

With a few adjustments, scientists believe the device may be able to expand its scope beyond 60 frames.

Feng Chen of Xi’an Jiaotong University in Shaanxi said: “By using a broader spectrum light source, we can achieve a larger frame number without compromising the imaging speed.”

The approach could be used to watch high-speed processes, such as the interaction between light and biological tissue in laser surgery.


Ultra high-speed camera: The scientific applications range from studying lasers, optics and medicine (Image: Y.Lue et al., Phys. Rev. Lett)

Of some 600,000 Americans that get laser surgery, approximately one percent experience potentially devastating complications.

In 2017, the US Food and Drug Administration conducted a clinical trial to assess patient-satisfaction after LASIK.

About half of the patients in the trial developed burred or distorted vision that they had never experienced before surgery, even if their sight was technically “improved”.

They also found that patients were about half as likely to tell their doctors about developing complications after surgery as they were to admit to these issues in an online survey.

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