Novel Camera Captures 10 Trillion Frames per Second


Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS) reported development of the world’s fastest camera, capable of capturing ten trillion frames per second    

A team of researchers at INRS led by Lihong Wang from California Institute of Technology, developed the world’s fastest camera, which is capable of capturing ten trillion frames per second. This new camera named as T-CUP shoots ultra-short pulses in the femtosecond range. Current imaging techniques allow measurements with ultra-short laser pulses that are required to repeat several times. Although the technique is appropriate for some types of inert samples used in various researches, it is impossible for other samples that are more fragile.

Compressed Ultrafast Photography (CUP) enables 100 billion frames per second. However, this method failed to meet the specifications required to integrate femtosecond lasers. To improve on the concept, the INRS team developed T-CUP system, which is based on a femtosecond streak camera. The system also incorporates a data acquisition type used in applications such as tomography. However, the image quality is limited when only a femtosecond streak camera is used. Therefore, the team added another camera that acquires a static image. The combined image acquired by the femtosecond streak camera enables a Radon transformation to obtain high-quality images while recording ten trillion frames per second.

According to the team, T-CUP can facilitate development of a new generation of microscopes for biomedical, materials science, and other applications. Moreover, the camera allows to analyze interactions between light and matter at an unparalleled temporal resolution. The team tested the ultrafast camera and it successfully captured the temporal focusing of a single femtosecond laser pulse in real time. This process was recorded in 25 frames taken at an interval of 400 femtoseconds. The camera was able to detail the light pulse’s shape, intensity, and angle of inclination. The research was published in the journal Optica on September 12, 2018.


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Aira Goldsmith is a graduate of Parsons School of Design. She’s based in NYC but travels much of the year. Aira has written for Buzz Feed, Motherboard, The Financial Post, and the Huffington Post. Aira is a business reporter, focusing on technology and markets.