Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Every trillionth of a second, this camera recorded light traveling through a coke bottle. Video. Watch light bounce off the lid.

Velten and Raskar featured in MSNBC story
Nothing goes faster than light but this streak camera  records light's travel down a plastic coke bottle in real time.  Records are taken every 1.7 trillionths of a second.  The trick is to record through a tiny slit. Each photon that strays from the passing beam and passes through the slit, travels through a vibrating electric field.  The field, which can be vibrating as fast as the photon, deflects each new photon a different angle than the one before.  The camera tracks the different angles and recreates a one dimensional record of the the light's trip.  This is the upper limit of what can be observed.  So far it only works on repeatable events with a computer that sums the results of many runs and makes a video.  “We’re still trying to get our heads around what this means,” Dr. Raskar said, “because no one has been able to see the world in this way before.” Next comes consolidation of skills.
(nanosecond - one billionth,  picosecond  - one trillionth,  femtosecond - one thousand times shorter than a trillionth of a second and relevant when talking about perturbations inside an atom.). Also at Science Daily News.

Watch video of light captured as it makes its way down the length of an empty coke bottle and bounces off the lid at the other end.  If this film technique was used on a bullet, you'd have to sit there for three hours to get to the end.

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