News - Speed of light captured on new camera

Scientists in America have developed the imaging system dubbed the "ultimate" in slow motion after capturing a beam of light traveling through a one-litre plastic bottle.

The system is based on a streak camera, which uses a narrow slit for an aperture and produces an image of light particles, or photons, passing through the slit.

But creating a video of the speed of light took an hour as the scientists carried out the experiment repeatedly to build up a two-dimensional image.

The camera, which was presented at the Optical Society's Computational Optical Sensing and Imaging conference, is the size of a dustbin and is unable to capture anything that only happens once. It could be used in the future to observe how light bounces on different surfaces, such as on fruit to test its ripeness.

"Watching this it looks like light in slow motion. It is so slow you can see the light itself move across the distance,” Velten told the Sunday Times (£).

“This is the speed of light captured: there is nothing in the universe that moves faster, so we are at the physical limit of high-speed photography.”