The novel camera takes pictures at a rate of one trillion frames per second. In an example, the MIT researchers showed light moving through a soda bottle.
To create the movie, the $250,000 camera system as well as the laser emitting the photons produce "hundreds of thousands" of data sets that provide information about the positions of photons as well as their times of arrival. The data is then stitched together to create a movie that expands a process that takes only about 1 nanosecond in real time, but is stretched to about six seconds in the slow-mo. The effort of repetitive picture taking and combining them into a video takes about one hour, the researchers said.
The intriguing part of the invention may be two-fold: Scientists working with light could get a much better opportunity to monitor photons. However, the MIT researchers also said that the ultra-slow motion technology will make its way to the consumer at some point.