ScienceAlert reports while other cameras have been invented capable of photographing faster events, this new camera — STAMP — can record more frames back to back.
The radiologist team hopes to use STAMP to record fast biological processes in greater detail than ever before, and more importantly, record events that may not be accurately reproduced, the main limitation of other cameras.
To build this camera — which is 1,000 times faster than a conventional high-speed camera — the team focused on using fast optical parts to split a light pulse. Called dispersion, this involves splitting a single pulse of light into numerous smaller, rainbow-coloured pulses.
The press release explains each rainbow pulse provides a glimpse into the event, and when strung together provides a clear picture. STAMP can record many of these pictures back to back, unlike the “pump and probe” method which can capture higher speeds but only one frame at a time. The process is time-consuming and can only document a complete event if it can be repeated several times.
The team is now working on upgrading the camera’s capabilities per shot — last August it could capture six frames per shot and the near-future goal is 25, with an eventual goal of 100.
Keiichi Nakagawa, part of the team, says the camera has many potential uses including giving insight into how electromagnetic fields split solid objects back into atomic particles. Nakagawa added there are probably many more applications he hasn’t thought of yet and hopes to get more researchers on board.
To provide an idea of how just fast this is, typical high-def cameras at most can record at 60 frames per second, while special (and expensive) slow-motion rigs can record up to nearly 20,000 frames per second.