They measure the shortest period of time for the first time


German scientists were able to measure for the first time the propagation of light in a molecule, which is equivalent to the femtoseconds in magnitudes, approximately 247 zeptoseconds, the shortest period of time recorded to date, it was known this Saturday.

The study published in the journal Science describes that atomic physicists at Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany, calculated the time in a hydrogen molecule irradiated with PETRAIII X-rays at the DESY acceleration center in Hamburg and achieved that one photon was sufficient to eject both electrons from the hydrogen molecule.

After the photon passed through the molecule, the interference pattern of the waves changed slightly, allowing scientists to calculate how long it takes for a photon to travel from one hydrogen atom to another.

‘Electrons behave as particles and waves simultaneously and thus the ejection of the first electron resulted in waves of electrons being thrown first at the atom of a hydrogen molecule and then at the second in rapid succession, the waves merging’ , says the article.

The study’s lead author, Sven Grundmann, explained that since they already knew the spatial orientation of the hydrogen molecule, they used the interference of the two electron waves to accurately calculate when the photon reached the first hydrogen atom and when it reached the first hydrogen atom. second.

In this way, the experts detail, they observed for the first time that the electron shell in a molecule does not react to light simultaneously and everywhere.

“The time delay occurs because the information within the molecule only propagates at the speed of light,” they reveal.

The scientists plan to expand the COLTRIMS technology in the future and use it to study other ultrashort events at the molecular level.

In 1999, Egyptian chemist Ahmed Zewail received the Nobel Prize for measuring the speed at which molecules change shape.

To estimate the rate of chemical bond formation and breaking, Zewail used ultrashort laser flashes in the femtosecond range, which equates to 10 ^ -15 seconds.

(With information from Prensa Latina)

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