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: Apr 21, 2015

The Ye group has just improved the accuracy of the world’s best optical atomic clock by another...

Published: Apr 20, 2015

The Ye Group recently investigated what first appeared to be a “bug” in an experiment and made...

Published: Mar 23, 2015

One of the great challenges in the semiconductor and electronics industries is that as nanoscale...

Published: Mar 11, 2015

Supermassive black holes at the center of active galaxies are known as blazars when they are...

Published: Mar 02, 2015

The photoelectric effect has been well known since the publication of Albert Einstein’s 1905...

Published: Feb 27, 2015

When the Rey theory group first modeled a quantum system at JILA, it investigated the...

Published: Jan 20, 2015

Because red fluorescent proteins are important tools for cellular imaging, the Jimenez group is...

Published: Dec 10, 2014

Until recently, researchers who wanted to understand how magnetic materials work had to reserve...

Published: Oct 31, 2014

New theory describing the spin behavior of ultracold polar molecules is opening the door to...

Published: Oct 14, 2014

Dynamical phase transitions in the quantum world are wildly noisy and chaotic. They don’t look...

Published: Aug 25, 2014

A Be star is a luminous, blue B-type star with distinctive spectral lines that can provide two...

Published: Aug 18, 2014

Symmetries described by SU(N) group theory made it possible for physicists in the 1950s to...

Pages