Snapshots of Molecules in Movement

Roland Piquepaille writes "By combining scanning probe microscopy and femtosecond laser techniques, a team of American researchers was able to take snapshots of the movement of molecules in a billionth of a second. The researchers said this is a significant advance in surface science, which studies phenomena such as the formation of crystals and the activity of catalysts that transform pollutants into benign gasses. Their next step will be to shoot real-time, real-space movies of molecular motions. This overview contains more details and an illustration of the process of using femtosecond laser pulses to measure molecular movements at a nanoscale level. It also contains other references to femtosecond lasers."

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