World’s Fastest: This Camera Can Shoot 156.3 Trillion Frames Per Second

Researchers have created an ultrafast camera system that can record stunningly exact images at 156.3 trillion frames per second. In contrast, professional cinematic cameras have thousands of FPS.

Canadian researchers at Énergie Matériaux Télécommunications at the Research Centre Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS) developed the technique.

SCARF, swept-coded aperture real-time femtophotography, is a new method for recording ultrafast metal alloy demagnetization and semiconductor absorption.

Researchers say the new technique will boost physics, biology, chemistry, materials science, engineering, and other fields. Nature Communications published the team's findings.

In 2018, Professor Jinyang Liang, scientific head of INRS' Laboratory of Applied Computational Imaging and a pioneer in ultrafast imaging, made a significant accomplishment that established the framework for SCRAF.

Ultrafast camera systems have always taken frames one at a time. They collected data quickly and repetitively and made a movie that mimicked the movement they saw.

Researchers said this strategy limited them to inert materials or repeatable events. This prevented the method from monitoring fragile samples, non-repeatable events, or ultrafast phenomena.

Professor Liang's first tool partially filled this gap. The T-CUP (Trillion-frame-per-second compressed ultrafast photography) technology captured 1013 frames per second using passive femtosecond imaging, advancing ultrafast, real-time, single-shot imaging.

The team worked to overcome Professor Liang's tool's limitations to develop technology. “Many compressed ultrafast photography systems must deal with degraded data quality and trade sequence depth of field of view.

Miguel Marquez, postdoctoral researcher and co-first author of the paper, noted that the operational concept needs concurrently shearing the scene and coded aperture, which causes these constraints.

The team claims that charge-coupled device (CCD) pixels may receive full-sequence encoding speeds of up to 156.3 THz. These results can be produced in one pass in reflection and transmission modes at customizable frame rates and spatial scales.

Ultrafast, non-repeatable, or difficult-to-duplicate events like shock wave mechanics in live cells or matter can be observed with SCARF. These findings may improve drug and medical treatment development.

Professor Liang's team is working with Axis Photonique and Few-Cycle to commercialize their patent-pending technology.

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