Scientists managed to capture a light beam moving between a set of mirrors

There are some pretty epic video taken with high-speed cameras: from the smell of rain to light’s “sonic boom.” But have you ever seen you’d see the movement of light? Researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne managed to capture a light beam bouncing between a strategically placed set of mirrors. They used a frame rate of whopping 24,000 fps, and even though it’s short, their resulting video is super-impressive to watch.

The team of scientists behind this project consists of Kazuhiro Morimoto, Ming-Lo Wu, Andrei Ardelean, and Edoardo Charbon. They used a MegaX camera to film the light beam bouncing off their mirror setup. Speaking with Digital Trends, Charbon explained:

“The camera operates in gated mode, [meaning] a very fast electronic shutter of 3.8 nanoseconds is used to capture the light as it propagates. Subsequent laser pulses are used, opening the shutter with increasing delay, so as to follow the propagation along its path. Thanks to the large number of pixels and the fast shutter, one can see the light propagation in multiple shots without moving the camera and without superposing the images to images taken with other cameras. Everything is done on MegaX.”

According to the paper published by the team, this is the first-ever 4-dimensional light-in-flight capture based on the observation of superluminal motion. The scientists used a machine learning technique to analyze the measured spatio-temporal data set.

“Our approach could potentially provide novel functionalities to high speed imaging applications such as non-line-of-sight imaging and time-resolved optical tomography,” the paper reads. It could be of help for physicists, but also applied in augmented and virtual reality and even self-driving cars software. And as for us common folks – well, the video they created is impressive to watch.

[via Digital Trends]