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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: Oct 01, 2007

In JILA Fellow Dick McCray’s view, the way students learn astronomy is nearly the...

Published: Oct 01, 2007

Fellows Ralph Jimenez and Henry Kapteyn and their groups recently helped develop optical...

Published: Oct 01, 2007

In Fellow Steve Cundiff’s lab, echoes of light are illuminating the quantum world. Former...

Published: Sep 30, 2007

X-rays are notorious for damaging molecules, including those in our bodies. High in the upper...

Published: Jun 15, 2007

In the quantum world inside Fellow Eric Cornell’s lab, communication occurs across a two-...

Published: May 01, 2007

It’s easy to make X-rays. Physicians and dentists make them routinely in their offices...

Published: Apr 27, 2007

Two egg-shaped necklaces of magnificent stars orbit the enormous black hole known as...

Published: Apr 16, 2007

There’s a new aspect to research on gamma-ray bursts: their use to discern features of...

Published: Apr 12, 2007

A second wave has appeared on the horizon of ultracold atom research. Known as the p-wave, it...

Published: Apr 12, 2007

Researchers from the Ye, Bohn, and Greene groups are busy exploring a cold new world crawling...

Published: Apr 10, 2007

A Fermi sea forms at ultracold temperatures when fermions in a dilute gas stack up in the lowest...

Published: Apr 10, 2007

Small changes in the quantum fluctuations of free space are responsible for a variety of curious...

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