Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube

News & Highlights

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 16, 2015

Fellow Phil Armitage and his collaborator Jake Simon of the Southwest Research Institute...

Published: Oct 16, 2015

The Perkins Group has demonstrated a 50-to-100 times improvement in the time resolution for...

Published: Oct 05, 2015

It took Eric Cornell three years to build JILA’s first Top Trap with his own two hands in the...

Published: Sep 21, 2015

The Kapteyn/Murnane group, with Visiting Fellow Charles Durfee, has figured out how to use...

Published: Aug 19, 2015

Graduate student Brian Lester of the Regal group has taken an important step toward building...

Published: Aug 14, 2015

Ever wondered how magnetic pressure alone might be able to maintain the structure of an...

Published: Aug 10, 2015

Compact and transportable optical lattices are coming soon to a laboratory near you, thanks to...

Published: Aug 06, 2015

When an ordinary star like our Sun wanders very close to a supermassive black hole, it’s very...

Published: Jul 16, 2015

For astrophysicists like Fellow Jeff Linsky, the Lyman-α spectral line of atomic hydrogen is a...

Published: Jul 01, 2015

A grand challenge of ultracold physics is figuring out how fermions become bosons. This is an...

Published: May 11, 2015

A wildly successful JILA (Nesbitt Group)-NIH collaboration is opening the door to studies of RNA...

Published: Apr 30, 2015

For decades after the invention of the red ruby laser in 1960, bright laser-like beams were...

Pages