That swanky new digital camera that you recently bought probably has a maximum shutter speed of around 5000th or 6000th of second, and while that may seem impressive to you, it’s nowhere near what the world’s fastest camera can do.

Developed by researchers at the University of Tokyo and Keio University, it took the group over three years to design and develop a camera that can shoot images at 4.4 trillion frames per second at an image size of 450 x 450.

The camera makes use of technology called Sequentially Timed All-optical Mapping Photography (STAMP) which enables it to photography things that have never been photographed before – chemical reactions and heat conduction. As Engadget pointed out, heat conduction takes about 1/6th the speed of light.

Its not much to look at...
It’s not much to look at…

Ultra-high speed photography is called femtophotography, and Nature describes it best. “The principle of this method—‘motion picture femtophotography’—is all-optical mapping of the target’s time-varying spatial profile onto a burst stream of sequentially timed photographs with spatial and temporal dispersion.”

Before the STAMP method of high-speed photography, researchers had to rely on a technique called the pump-probe method, “but it requires repetitive measurements for image construction and therefore falls short in probing non-repetitive or difficult-to-reproduce events,” Nature added.

How do you get your hands on one of these beauties? In short, you do. The University of Tokyo researchers explained that the technology could only be made available for commercial use in a couple of years, as the biggest issue with such a camera is that it measures over a meter in diameter.

[Source – Nature, image – CC by 2.0/David Lindes]