Femto Photography, Capturing Individual Photons in Motion…

Photography is an art form reliant on capturing the effects of photons, now Femto photography hopes to capture individual photons in action.

MIT’s Media Labs have developed the World’s fastest camera, the Femto Camera. Able to capture images at a trillion frames per second MIT’s Femto Camera is able to see photons in motion, capturing light itself.

Presented for your viewing pleasure is the slowest slow motion in history, a billion times slow motion. Seemingly able to operate faster than the speed of light the Femto videos will blow your mind. The second video sees Ramesh Raskar present his Femto technology to TED’s conference. Sit back relax and prepare to be amazed by the life of photons.

The Femto camera pushes the boundaries of photography into the impossibly fast world of the photon. The Femto camera is able to operate at billions of frames per second allowing the Femto camera to capture light propagating through a scene, the images are strangely haunting and might stretch your minds boundaries just a little.

highpants-femto-photography-light-wave-slow-moThe events captured by the camera last mere nanoseconds, capturing footage at a trillion fps converts the nano second world into something more compatible with our sensory systems.

Light still manages to cover a lot of distance in nanosecond, well a foot to be precise but that is still a million times faster than a bullet. The coke bottle video for example happens in a nanosecond.

At the heart of the Femto camera is the sensor array that combines the power of 500 sensors, each triggered on nanosecond delay. Each sensor is also very different than the sensor you might find in a digital camera, instead of a CCD the Femto uses streak detectors.

Designed for use by chemists to record chemical reactions in real time the MIT researchers repurposed the sensor to create their Femto camera. The streak sensor sacrifices dimensions for speed, capturing in only one dimension in very little time.

One of the drawbacks for the system is the incredibly small amount of information collected during each frames trillionth of a second. To overcome this camera repeats the scene millions of times in exactly the same way. The 10 seconds of video produced occurred in a trillionth of a second but took an hour to record.

The team’s real breakthrough though is in all of the equipment that surrounds the sensor. Precise electrical and mechanical timing and control are required to achieve Femto photography. And now because of their hard work we are able to see photons in action, things might get a little strange from here on in as we learn to see the quantum worlds more clearly.

Reference: MIT