Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Ultrafast X-Ray Pulses Could Reveal Atoms In Motion

Date:
October 25, 2001
Source:
University Of Michigan
Summary:
X-rays are already being used in many fields, from biology to materials science, to study the microscopic structure of matter. Now a group of researchers from the University of Michigan Department of Physics and its new Center for Optical Coherent and Ultrafast Science (FOCUS) have demonstrated an ultrafast switch for X-rays. The switch will enable the researchers to follow the movement of constituent atoms, and actually obtain information about the dynamics of molecular motion.

ANN ARBOR --- If you grew up in the 1950s you probably remember the fascination of seeing your own toes through the X-ray machines that could be found in many shoe stores.

While concerns about radiation exposure have sent those old imaging devices to the scrap heap, the useful X-ray is still very much with us in dentist offices, in hospitals, in observatories where astronomers use X-rays to probe outer space, and in laboratories.

X-rays are already being used in many fields, from biology to materials science, to study the microscopic structure of matter. Now a group of researchers from the University of Michigan Department of Physics and its new Center for Optical Coherent and Ultrafast Science (FOCUS) have demonstrated an ultrafast switch for X-rays. The switch will enable the researchers to follow the movement of constituent atoms, and actually obtain information about the dynamics of molecular motion.

The results of their research will be published in the Oct. 25 issue of Nature. Authors of the paper include Matthew F. DeCamp, David A. Reis, Philip H. Bucksbaum, John M. Caraher, Roy Clarke, Eric M. Dufresne, Roberto Merlin, Vladimir A. Stoica, and Jared K. Wahlstrand, all of the U-M. Co-authors included Bernhard Adams, from Argonne National Laboratories, and Charles Conover of Colby College.

The U-M researchers used an ultrafast laser source, which acts as a hammer on the surface of a crystal, generating an acoustic pulse that is very short in both time and space. That pulse modifies the diffraction patterns through the crystal, and it can be used to switch energy from one diffracted beam to another.

In other words, it becomes an ultrafast shutter for X-rays, enabling them to capture motion within molecules just as a stop-action camera enables light to capture motion during a football game. But where sports photographers might be working with average shutter speeds of about a 500th of a second, the U-M physicists were achieving speeds of picoseconds (one trillionth of a second).

"If we can shutter X-rays very quickly, we have the potential to generate an ultrafast X-ray pulse that can be used to study the dynamics of very complex systems---essentially anything, like proteins, that can be made into a crystal," DeCamp says. He notes that the ultrafast pulses also could be used to study shock waves as they propagate through materials.

In a commentary on the article, Ferenc Krausz and Christian Spielmann of the Vienna University of Technology, say that the work "opens an entirely new chapter in controlling the time structure of hard X-rays." They add that while many challenges remain to be overcome, the "X-ray switch is a versatile tool that could be added to nearly every beam line without having to touch the source…such ultrafast switches could become a key component in the X-ray toolbox for probing the structural dynamics of matter."

The research was conducted at the MHATT-CAT insertion device beamline at the Advanced Photon Source, Argonne National Labs. Use of the Advanced Photon Source was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy Basic Energy Sciences, Office of Energy Research. Support also was received from the National Science Foundation, the U-M's Center for Ultrafast Optical Science, and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Michigan. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Michigan. "Ultrafast X-Ray Pulses Could Reveal Atoms In Motion." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 October 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/10/011025072007.htm>.
University Of Michigan. (2001, October 25). Ultrafast X-Ray Pulses Could Reveal Atoms In Motion. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/10/011025072007.htm
University Of Michigan. "Ultrafast X-Ray Pulses Could Reveal Atoms In Motion." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/10/011025072007.htm (accessed September 16, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Space Race Pits Bezos Vs Musk

Space Race Pits Bezos Vs Musk

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 16, 2014) Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' startup will team up with Boeing and Lockheed to develop rocket engines as Elon Musk races to have his rockets certified. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
MIT's Robot Cheetah Unleashed — Can Now Run, Jump Freely

MIT's Robot Cheetah Unleashed — Can Now Run, Jump Freely

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) MIT developed a robot modeled after a cheetah. It can run up to speeds of 10 mph, though researchers estimate it will eventually reach 30 mph. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Manufacturer Prints 3-D Car In Record Time

Manufacturer Prints 3-D Car In Record Time

Newsy (Sep. 15, 2014) Automobile manufacturer Local Motors created a drivable electric car using a 3-D printer. Printing the body only took 44 hours. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Refurbished New York Subway Tunnel Unveiled After Sandy Damage

Refurbished New York Subway Tunnel Unveiled After Sandy Damage

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 15, 2014) New York officials unveil subway tunnels that were refurbished after Superstorm Sandy. Nathan Frandino reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

      Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins