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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

World's fastest camera: 6 million photos in 1 second

A team of physicists at UCLA have developed a new photographic technique called Serial Time-Encoded Amplified Microscopy, or STEAM for short. Using common fiber-optics components, the new system is capable of recording photographic images at a staggering rate of once every 163 nanoseconds.

That's more than six million photos in one second, folks.

It's an innovation owing to quantum physics and laser light, not standard CCD chips like how most digital images are captured. And the resolution right now is quite small: only about 2,500 pixels, or a thousand times smaller than most cellphone cameras. But with refinement there is the possibility that STEAM will eventually be able to video record real-time activity within living cells.

Give 'em ten years: that'll make for a helluva IMAX nature film!