Disney’s award-winning film Frozen is the highest grossing animated film of all time and was shot at 24 frames per second (fps). Some of the most mesmerizing slow motion films have been made at a rate of about 4,000 fps. Imagine then, if you will, what a film would look like if it were made at one trillion fps. Could individual photons be identified?
How can a camera even capture that?
Well, to be technical, it can’t. Instead of a single camera, scientists at MIT developed an array of 500 sensors that are activated on a delay to capture laser pulses that are emitted ever 13 nanoseconds. When all of the information is put together, it creates an image that works sort of like a strobe light, making the laser pulses appear to travel through the bottle at the equivalent of 1 trillion fps.
You aren't seeing a single photon traveling through the bottle, but a series of images that effectively give that illusion. Of course, that isn’t exactly what’s happening, because that’s not how light works. Light needs to enter our eyes to be perceived, so we can’t see a photon passing in front of us like we might be able to see someone throwing a baseball. Nevertheless, it is a pretty neat visualization.
The researchers hope that this technology can be applied for medical or industrial uses.
Check it out here:
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