debbie millman

Sunday, January 11, 2009

For The First Time Ever, An Electron In Motion



From Discover Magazine, one of the top 100 science stories of the year is a most remarkable motion pictures that lasts just 3 seconds—and that’s after it has been slowed down a billion billion times. The film documents an electron in motion the instant after it was booted from an atom by an ultraviolet pulse. Created by an international team of physicists, the movie is the first of its kind.

Individual electrons move too quickly for ordinary cameras to capture in a clear image. But a new method that generates supershort bursts of laser light allowed researchers to nab a high-resolution shot of the elusive electron. Each flash of light lasted only an attosecond. To comprehend how brief that is, consider that one second contains about twice as many attoseconds as there are seconds in the 14-billion-year life of the universe, says physicist Johan Mauritsson of Lund University in Sweden, who led the study [subscription required]. An electron orbits a hydrogen atom in about 150 attoseconds.

Mauritsson speculates that his high-resolution camera might help physicists understand how electrons interact with each other, but he doesn’t have a specific research goal in mind. “We don’t know exactly what we’ll use it for,” he says. “We push the limits because the limits are there to be pushed.”

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

Kate
http://educationonline-101.com

1/12/2009 05:00:00 AM  

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