You may think your camera is fast, but prepare for some serious shutter envy. It’s being called the fastest camera in history, and it’s the product of 3 years of work by researchers at the University of Tokyo and Keio University. The camera clocks in at 1,000 times faster than any other on the planet, capturing images at 4.4 trillion frames per second and delivering images in a resolution of 450 x 450 pixels.
Employing a technology called Sequentially Timed All-optical Mapping Photography (STAMP) the camera can be used to observe things previously unobserved – like chemical reactions and heat conduction. Prior to the development of the STAMP camera, the fastest technique available was something called the “pump-probe method,” according to Nature. But unlike its predecessor, the STAMP camera is able to take shots of events that are impossible or extremely difficult to reproduce, using motion picture femtophotography to take a “burst stream” of photos.
Those interested in getting ahold of the technology for personal use will have to wait. Researchers say market possibilities for the STAMP camera are still years away, owing no doubt in great part to its size of three feet in diameter. In the meantime, efforts are underway to shrink the technology for more practical purposes, although first customers will likely be those in the semiconductor or medical industries.
A more detailed rundown on the specifics of how the STAMP camera works is available from the Nature Photonics website.