Light, in slow motion!

Photography and videography are possible because everyday objects move slowly enough and reflect enough light so it can be captured by a camera. Just enough light is let in using a mechanical or electronic shutter to capture either a snapshot (in the case of still photography) or several frames (in the case of movies). So, everyday photography is all about capturing the light reflected off a surface onto a medium.

Imagine what it is to film a ray of light itself.

A photon, the particle that constitutes light, measures about 1.6 femtometers or 1.6 x 10-15 m across. This exceedingly small particle also travels exceedingly fast - at the rate of 3 x 108 m/s. Filming or photographing the movement of a ray of light would seem to be a fool's errand - and playing it back in slow motion even more so. However, a team from MIT have used a combination of innovative time slicing techniques and a monstrously fast camera to do just that. You can now watch a ray of light in slow motion, see it produce waves, and confirm its particle nature by looking around corners and inside bodies. Femto Photography is sure to bring about a revolution in imaging, please watch:

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