Camera

A camera fast enough to see light travelling through the air

A camera fast enough to see light travelling through the air and even see around corners has been developed by researchers at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh – 15 billion frames per second

Photons travel so fast that normal high-speed cameras cannot freeze their motion, but the Heriot-Watt team is using a new type of camera (developed by the University of Edinburgh) that is so sensitive, and so fast, that it can capture individual photons.

Camera

We are using a camera, developed by the University of Edinburgh, to image at the speed of light. The camera is sensitive enough and fast enough to film pulses of light traveling through air.

The camera is made up of an array of single photon sensitive pixels, each of which is about 10 times more sensitive to light than the human eye and is more than a billion times quicker than a person can blink. Although the photons are travelling at the speed of light (about 300 million metres per second), each exposure (of just 67 picoseconds – 67 trillionths of a second) is fast enough to capture them as they cover just a very small distance, which limits any blurring.

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