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Research Highlights

Published: Fri, 11/03/2017 - 12:45pm

The actors are molecules. The plot, broken molecular bonds. JILA Fellow Ralph Jimenez and a team of detector experts at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) are working together to make X-ray movies of a molecular drama.

The team at NIST built a microcalorimeter X-ray spectrometer capable of performing time-resolved spectroscopy; in other words: a camera to film molecules. They use this camera to learn how molecules break their bonds – do the ­electrons rearrange, do the other atoms quake?

The microcalorimeter spectrometer is not the only tool that can film molecules, but it is the smallest. Previously, only huge, multibillion dollar synchrotrons were capable of producing X-rays and probing molecules. Beam time at these facilities has to be reserved in advance, sometimes months, or even years. These long wait times, combined with the expense of building and operating synchrotrons, can limit opportunities for new research.

In contrast, NIST’s spectrometer fits on a tabletop and costs a fraction of an entire synchrotron system. But most importantly, NIST’s spectrometer is easily accessible ­­– it’s like having the ability to film a...

Published: Apr 10, 2008

By late 2006, Fellow Jun Ye’s clock team had raised the accuracy of its strontium (Sr)-lattice...

Published: Apr 02, 2008

With every breath you take, you breathe out carbon dioxide and roughly 1000 other different...

Published: Mar 01, 2008

An excellent way to watch proteins fold is to probe the inside of a microfluidics device with...

Published: Feb 18, 2008

When the Jin and Ye group collaboration wanted to investigate the creation of stable ultracold...

Published: Feb 17, 2008

What did Fellow Jeff Linsky come home with from a 2006 SINS conference?

He arrived...

Published: Feb 14, 2008

Neutron stars are born in supernovae, spinning very fast. How fast they spin at birth depends on...

Published: Feb 12, 2008

Benzene has a special ring structure that allows some of its electrons to be shared among all...

Published: Feb 11, 2008

The Kapteyn/Murnane group recently proved that you don’t need an accelerator facility to make...

Published: Feb 10, 2008

Fellow Andrew Hamilton recently confirmed a prediction he made 10 years ago of the location of...

Published: Feb 07, 2008

The Perkins group is helping to develop DNA as a force standard for the nano world. Polymers...

Published: Feb 02, 2008

In Ray Bradbury’s book Something Wicked This Way Comes, people get older or younger...

Published: Jan 10, 2008

A solid understanding of the structure and behavior of atoms is important for understanding...

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