MIT Media Lab researchers have created a new imaging system that can acquire visual data at a rate of one trillion frames per second. That’s fast enough to produce a slow-motion video of light traveling through objects.
The special camera in their setup is called a “streak camera”. Picture a camera that takes an image on one “slit” plane at a time, sort of like a stack of lines eventually becoming a rectangle.
Then, there are 500 individual sensors in the camera timed to go off a trillionth of a second apart., each sort of corresponding to what we would think of as a “frame” of a video.
In that video, every “frame” of the Coke bottle with light moving through it was one-trillionth of a second. They had to repeat the scan hundreds of times to assemble a full “rectangular” image like we are used to, changing the position of the slit in the camera over time.The result is a series of images over time that show how actual light particles move through and over a solid object.