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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: Feb 05, 2013

When experimental physicists at Penn State were unable to observe some of the predicted...

Published: Jan 22, 2013

The Cundiff group has taken an important step forward in the study of the quantum world. It has...

Published: Jan 07, 2013

Gold glitters because it is highly reflective, a quality once considered important for precision...

Published: Dec 19, 2012

The Ye and Bohn groups have made a major advance in the quest to prepare “real-world” molecules...

Published: Dec 18, 2012

When the Thompson group first demonstrated its innovative...

Published: Dec 12, 2012

The Nesbitt group has figured out the central role of “plasmon resonances” in light-induced...

Published: Dec 07, 2012

Graduate student Ben Knurr and Fellow Mathias Weber have added new insight into a catalytic...

Published: Dec 05, 2012

The world’s most stable optical atomic clock resides in the Ye lab in the basement of JILA’s S-...

Published: Dec 05, 2012

Most scientists think it is really hard to correlate, or entangle, the quantum spin states of...

Published: Nov 29, 2012

The Regal group recently completed a nifty feat that had never been done before: The researchers...

Published: Oct 22, 2012

The Jin and Cornell groups have discovered irrefutable evidence for the contact. The contact...

Published: Oct 18, 2012

Former research associate Antonio Picón, research associate Agnieszka Jaron-Becker, and Fellow...

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