The STAMP camera is also able to capture heat conduction, which occurs at a sixth of the speed of light.
The method used to capture images at such a high rate is described by the researchers as “motion picture femtophotography”, an all-optical technique that creates a burst stream of sequentially-timed photographs.
High-speed cameras had previously achieved 1 trillion frames per second using a “pump-probe” method, which involved “pumping” light into an object in order to photograph it. Researchers, however, claimed that this technique had numerous downsides.
“High-speed photography is a powerful tool for studying fast dynamics in photochemistry, spintronics, phononics, fluidics and plasma physics,” the paper explains.
“Currently, the pump-probe method is the gold standard for time-resolved imaging, but it requires repetetive measurements for image construction and therefore falls short in probing non-repetitive or difficult-to-reproduce events.”
The researchers’ method involves single-shot burst imaging without the need for repetitive measurements and each image captured is at a relatively high resolution of 450 x 450 pixels.
The STAMP camera measures 1 square metre and there are no plans to develop it commercially. Its most likely applications will be in assisting with medical observations and other scientific research