I've gotten interested in high speed photography. My equipment is limited - I use a DSLR and custom triggering with very short duration xenon flash to take pictures of things like popping balloons. (I open the shutter in complete darkness before popping the balloon, and use the flash discharge to freeze the motion.)
From what I've read, the edges of a popping balloon move faster than the speed of sound. Despite my best efforts, the edges of my popping balloons are always blurry. From my research, it seems that the fastest discharge I can get from a xenon flash is somewhere around 1/40,000 of a second. It seems you need to get exposures less than a microsecond to get crisp images of supersonic motion.
I really need an air gap flash to get crisp images. Air gap flashes create bright discharges as fast as 1/2 microsecond. (1/2,000,000 of a second.)
However, what I really want to do is understand how those patterns form in the cornstarch as the balloon pops. To do that I need a high speed video camera that takes images with sub-microsecond shutterspeeds, and very rapidly. Do any commercial high speed cameras exist that can do that, and that can be rented by mere mortals? And how would I pump enough light onto my subject to expose those extremely short shutterspeed images?
I know Dr. Edgerton used moving film and revolving mirrors to create sub-microsecond images of exploding atom bombs, but those cameras weighed hundreds of kilos and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, or perhaps more.