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MIT's New Camera Can Take 1 Trillion Frames Per Second 197

Posted by timothy
from the need-a-really-big-sd-card dept.
First time accepted submitter probain writes "MIT has made a camera that can take trillion frames per second! With this high speed capability, they can actually see the movement of photons of light across a scene or object. This is just mind-boggling." ExtremeTech has a nice video of the system, too. What would you like to see slowed down to such a degree?
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MIT's New Camera Can Take 1 Trillion Frames Per Second

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  • What (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @09:52AM (#38354398)

    they can actually see the movement of photons of light across a scene or object

    ...no.

  • by tpotus (1856224) on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @09:58AM (#38354470)
    I watched the video and can only conclude that it doesn't make any sense at all. Slow motion video of a moving photon? Give me a break.
  • by Dachannien (617929) on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @10:29AM (#38354774)

    Morbo: Photons do not work that way! Good night!

    Seriously. You can't detect a photon unless it actually collides with the detector. So how do you detect movement of photons across a scene?

  • Time to watch (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mbone (558574) on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @10:43AM (#38354932)

    Times, at 30 fps, to watch

    - a lightning strike move 1 meter : ~ 1 week
    - one bullet streak by Neo's head : ~ 100 days
    - one boob bounce on Baywatch : ~ 1 century

    Better bring lots of popcorn.

  • Re:What (Score:5, Insightful)

    by timeOday (582209) on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @11:59AM (#38355916)

    Not a new technology, just a variation on existing tech.

    I have never seen a new technology appear that was not met with that reaction on slashdot. I think people have some serious misconceptions about what science looks like when you follow it on a daily or weekly basis. Step functions exist only in theory.

  • Re:What (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hatta (162192) on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @12:32PM (#38356392) Journal

    What you are seeing is probably a sphere of expanding plasma. It can't possibly be a "sphere of light" because light travels at the speed of light. By the time you could see the sphere, you would be inside it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @01:47PM (#38357364)

    You can't watch light propagate across your field of vision. What you see from a flashlight is _scattered_ light coming from a beam propagating across your field of vision. Any thing that you sense by vision, or that in instrument detects through photon interactions, is the result of photons hitting your eye or the instrument respectively; that implies that those photons are _not_ traveling across the field of vision.

    Related is the quantum measurement problem--anything you do to that photon is likely to perturb its momentum dramatically, so there's not much chance of "watching" a photon propagate at all. Detect where it is one instant, and the next instant it will be on a trajectory unrelated to its previous one.

    Not sure who "we" are, but I think you might be over-representing your expertise in this matter. Not being able to see photons propagating isn't a quantum vs. classical issue, it's a problem with how light propagates and what it means to "see" something.

FORTRAN is a good example of a language which is easier to parse using ad hoc techniques. -- D. Gries [What's good about it? Ed.]

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