Remember those rugged gadgets we smashed to bits in super slow-mo? Well that spectacular footage was shot at around 1,500 frames per-second. A new camera system being built for the European XFEL (X-ray Free-Electron Laser) facility will record stunning clips of viruses and cells at an almost unimaginable 4.5 million fps. The camera is, in part, powered by a high speed flash created by the Science and Technology Facilities Council, that blasts its microscopic subjects with ultra-bright X-rays. The flashes themselves last as little as two femtoseconds, or 2×10^-15 seconds for you math nerds out there. When the whole apparatus is fired up in 2015 it could provide amazingly detailed, 3D images of individual molecules and answer some questions about the behavior of viruses and cells.
4.5 million fps microscope camera powered by ultra-fast X-ray flash originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 01 Aug 2011 14:58:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.