Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Electron Gets Film Debut In First-ever Video Of Its Kind

Date:
February 25, 2008
Source:
Lund University
Summary:
It may not have won an Oscar, but the tiny electron has finally made its film debut. A new video shows how an electron rides on a light wave after just having been pulled away from an atom. This is the first time an electron has ever been filmed in this way.

With the use of a newly developed technology for generating short pulses from intense laser light, scientists in Sweden have managed to capture the electron's motion for the first time.
Credit: Image courtesy of Johan Mauritsson, Lund University

It may not have won an Oscar, but the tiny electron has finally made its film debut. A new video shows how an electron rides on a light wave after just having been pulled away from an atom. This is the first time an electron has ever been filmed in this way, and the results are presented in the journal Physical Review Letters.

Previously it has been next to impossible to photograph electrons accurately since their extremely high velocities have produced blurry pictures. In order to capture these rapid events, extremely short flashes of light are necessary, but such flashes were not previously available. With the use of a newly developed technology for generating short pulses from intense laser light, so-called attosecond pulses, scientists at the Lund University Faculty of Engineering in Sweden have managed to capture the electron's motion for the first time.

"It takes about 150 attoseconds for an electron to circle the nucleus of an atom. An attosecond is 10-18 seconds long, or, expressed in another way: an attosecond is related to a second as a second is related to the age of the universe," says Johan Mauritsson, an assistant professor in atomic physics at the Faculty of Engineering, Lund University. He is one of seven researchers behind the study, which was directed by him and Professor Anne L'Huillier.

With the aid of another laser these scientists have moreover succeeded in guiding the motion of the electron so that they can capture a collision between an electron and an atom on film.

"We have long been promising the research community that we will be able to use attosecond pulses to film electron motion. Now that we have succeeded, we can study how electrons behave when they collide with various objects, for example. The images can function as corroboration of our theories," explains Johan Mauritsson.

These scientists also hope to find out more about what happens with the rest of the atom when an inner electron leaves it, for instance how and when the other electrons fill in the gap that is created.

"What we are doing is pure basic research. If there happen to be future applications, they will have to be seen as a bonus," adds Johan Mauritsson.

The length of the film corresponds to a single oscillation of the light, but the speed has then been ratcheted down considerably so that we can watch it. The filmed sequence shows the energy distribution of the electron and is therefore not a film in the usual sense.

Previously scientists have studied the movements of electrons using indirect methods, such as by metering their spectrum. With these methods it has only been possible to measure the result of an electron's movement, whereas now we have the opportunity to monitor the entire event.

It has been possible to create attosecond pulses for a couple of years now, but not until now has anyone managed to use them to film electron movements, since the attosecond pulses themselves are too weak to take clear pictures.

"By taking several pictures of exactly the same moment in the process, it's possible to create stronger, but still sharp, images. A precondition is for the process to be repeated in an identical manner, which is the case regarding the movement of an electron in a ray of light. We started with a so-called stroboscope. A stroboscope enables us to 'freeze' a periodic movement, like capturing a hummingbird flapping its wings. You then take several pictures when the wings are in the same position, such as at the top, and the picture will turn out clear, despite the rapid motion," clarifies Johan Mauritsson.

The article "Coherent Electron Scattering Captured by an Attosecond Quantum Stroboscope" appears in Physical Review Letters, vol. 100. Video available at:  http://www.atto.fysik.lth.se/


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

Lund University. "Electron Gets Film Debut In First-ever Video Of Its Kind." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 February 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080222095358.htm>.
Lund University. (2008, February 25). Electron Gets Film Debut In First-ever Video Of Its Kind. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080222095358.htm
Lund University. "Electron Gets Film Debut In First-ever Video Of Its Kind." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080222095358.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Chameleon Camouflage to Give Tanks Cloaking Capabilities

Chameleon Camouflage to Give Tanks Cloaking Capabilities

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) — Inspired by the way a chameleon changes its colour to disguise itself; scientists in Poland want to replace traditional camouflage paint with thousands of electrochromic plates that will continuously change colour to blend with its surroundings. The first PL-01 concept tank prototype will be tested within a few years, with scientists predicting that a similar technology could even be woven into the fabric of a soldiers' clothing making them virtually invisible to the naked eye. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jet Sales Lift Boeing Profit 18 Pct.

Jet Sales Lift Boeing Profit 18 Pct.

Reuters - Business Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) — Strong jet demand has pushed Boeing to raise its profit forecast for the third time, but analysts were disappointed by its small cash flow. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Internet of Things Aims to Smarten Your Life

Internet of Things Aims to Smarten Your Life

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) — As more and more Bluetooth-enabled devices are reaching consumers, developers are busy connecting them together as part of the Internet of Things. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
What Is Magic Leap, And Why Is It Worth $500M?

What Is Magic Leap, And Why Is It Worth $500M?

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) — Magic Leap isn't publicizing much more than a description of its product, but it’s been enough for Google and others to invest more than $500M. Video provided by Newsy
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

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