German scientists have been awarded a Guinness World Record for “fastest movie” after successfully capturing two images of an X-ray laser beam 50 femtoseconds apart. One femtosecond is equal to one quadrillionth (or one millionth of one billionth) of a second. Here’s some science talk explaining it:
[...] the scientists split the X-ray laser beam into two flashes and sent one of them via a detour of only 0.015 millimetres, making it arrive 50 femtoseconds later than the first one. Since no detector can be read out so fast, the scientists stored both images as superimposed holograms, allowing the subsequent reconstruction of the single images.
With these experiments, the scientists showed that this record slow motion is achievable. However, they did not only take the world’s fastest but probably also the shortest film – with just two images. Thus, additional development work is necessary for the use of this method in practice. [#]
And we thought one trillion frames per second was impressive…
Image credit: Photograph by Stefan Eisebitt/HZB