Scientists from the University of Tokyo managed to capture for the first time on video the movement of individual molecules, an unprecedented fact

By: Web Writing

Japan.- Researchers from the University of tokyo managed to capture on video the movement of molecules inside a laboratory. This is because they managed to capture video at 1,600 frames per second.

This great scientific feat was made possible by combining a state-of-the-art electron microscope and a highly sensitive high-speed camera. All with the help of a high-powered image processing device.

Experts believe that this new method will succeed in helping various nanoscale studies.

When the video is captured at high FPS (frames per second) but displayed at lower FPS, the effect is a smooth slowdown in motion that allows you to perceive details that would otherwise be inaccessible.

For example, movies shown in theaters have generally been shown at 24 frames per second, some video games run images at 60 frames per second.

In the past decade, some special microscopes and cameras have allowed researchers to capture events on an atomic scale at about 16 FPS, however recently, a new technique has increased this to a staggering 1,600 FPS.

« Our Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM) provides incredible spatial resolution, but to see the details of small-scale chemical and physical events well, you also need high temporal resolution. That’s why we are looking for an imaging technique that is much faster than previous experiments, so that you could slow down the replay of events and see them in a whole new way, « Eiichi Nakamura

Nakamura and his team used a TEM (Transmission Electron Microscope). Since, it has the power to solve objects smaller than 1 angstrom or one ten-billionth of a meter.

« To capture high FPS, you need an image sensor with high sensitivity, and higher sensitivity brings with it a high degree of visual noise. This is an inevitable fact of electronic engineering, » said project associate professor Koji Harano.

Digital noise, an obstacle to overcome

The direct electron detection (DED) camera is the one used in this new tool. This camera is highly sensitive and capable of high frame rates. However, even with this powerful microscope and responsive camera, a huge hurdle to get usable images has to be overcome: noise.

According to the scientist Koji Harano, in order to reduce visual noise they used an image processing technique known as Chambolle’s Total Variation Desnoisado. This algorithm is common in improving the quality of web videos.

It is not a real time experiment

According to Harano, the great obstacle that they have with the project is the processing of the images, these because a great processing power is required due to the high shutter speed and the number of images that are generated every second.

There is still a way to go but the foundations have been laid for what will be the investigation of the microscopic world in future generations.

(With information from National Geographic)