MIT builds camera that capture the speed of light in slow motion

The device can track the movement of individual packets of light, or photons, so fast that you can visualize the propagation of light.

“We have built a virtual slow motion camera where we can see photons, or light particles through space,” says Associate Professor Ramesh Raskar in an interview.

“Photons travel about a million times photons travel a million times faster than bullets. So our camera can see photons, or bullets of light traveling through space.”

In order to perform the experiment, the scientists used a streak camera, which is normally used to measure the intensity and duration of light.

By modifying the equipment, the researchers managed to create slow-motion movies.

The technique used cameras and mirrors to build these slow motion clips that track the lights movement across a scene. A laser pulse was shut as a flash and the light was recorded at about 1 trillion FPS.

The experiment thus had to be replicated hundreds of times.

The technology can be applied in medical imaging, materials science, as well as chemical analysis.