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News & Highlights

Research Highlights

Published: Thu, 10/04/2018 - 9:15am

JILA researchers are using lasers to control chemical reactions at the quantum level. This control brings new insights to our understanding of reaction pathways, and serves as a proof-of-principle that similar techniques could revolutionize our study of chemical processes.

In the vast stretches between solar systems, heat does not flow and sound does not exist. Action seems to stop, but only if you don’t look long enough.

Violent and chaotic actions occur in the long stretches of outer space. These chemical reactions between radicals and ions are the same reactions underlying the burn of a flame and floating the ozone above our planet. But they’re easy to miss in outer space because they’re very rare.

“It’s very low density in the interstellar medium, so the probability of seeing another atom or molecule is very low,” said JILA Fellow Dr. Heather Lewandowski. “They could go for kilometers before seeing another particle.”

And when meetings are that rare, the particles must be reactive. “If you do run into another particle, you want to have a high probability of reaction if you are ever going to react,” said Lewandowski.

Radicals and ions are...

Published: Oct 01, 2006

What do fermions in atomic nuclei, neutron stars, and ultracold trapped gases have in common? They have the same fundamental behavior. The...

Published: Oct 01, 2006

In the race to develop the world's best optical atomic clock, accuracy and precision are what count. Accuracy is the degree to which a measurement...

Published: Oct 01, 2006

For astrophysicists working to discover the origins of stars and planets, a small clue can go a long way. They can't get a close look at distant...

Published: Sep 30, 2006

Pancakes of Bose-Einstein condensates (BECs) of polar molecules are repulsive and potentially unstable. However, the physics of these dipolar...

Published: Sep 30, 2006

Under ordinary circumstances, making new molecules can be simple and straightforward - just a matter of mixing together some highly reactive...

Published: Jul 28, 2006

"Chemistry is a highly improbable science," says Graduate Student Mike Deskevich, who adds "It's good for life on Earth that...

Published: Jul 25, 2006

When will the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) fly? Fellows Jim Faller and Peter Bender first proposed the basic concept behind LISA...

Published: Jul 17, 2006

The breakdown of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in the stratosphere has been implicated in the destruction of Earth's protective ozone layer....

Published: Jul 16, 2006

A solvent is something that dissolves or disperses something else. It's the water in salt water, the alcohol in cough syrup, the lactates or...

Published: Jul 11, 2006

"In the right light, in the right time, everything is extraordinary," according to photographer Aaron Rose. He could have just as easily been...

Published: Jul 07, 2006

Life can be challenging on the biophysics research frontier. Consider gold nanoparticles as a research tool, for example. Gold is ductile and...

Published: Jul 03, 2006

The fine structure constant is getting a lot of attention these days. Known as α, it is the "coupling constant," or measure of...

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