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Researchers Capture First-Ever Image of Atoms Forming a Molecule

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posted on Mar, 7 2012 @ 04:58 PM
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Researchers have recorded the first-ever image of two atoms bonding together to form a molecule.
Key to the experiment, which appears in the journal Nature, is the researchers' use of the energy of a single electron as a kind of "flash bulb" to illuminate the reaction. The team used ultrafast laser pulses to knock one electron out of its natural orbit in one of the atoms, just as the two atoms were bonding together. When the electron fell back into place, it emitted an energy signal that scattered around the newly forming molecule as a flash of light would scatter around an object, or ripples would scatter in a pond.


Science Daily News


Researchers at Ohio State University and Kansas State University have captured the first-ever images of atoms moving in a molecule. Shown here is molecular nitrogen. The researchers used an ultrafast laser to knock one electron from the molecule, and recorded the diffraction pattern that was created when the electron scattered off the molecule. The image highlights any changes the molecule went through during the time between laser pulses: one quadrillionth of a second. The constituent atoms' movement is shown as a measure of increasing angular momentum, on a scale from dark blue to pink, with pink showing the region of greatest momentum. (Credit: Image courtesy of Cosmin Blaga, Ohio State University.)




posted on Mar, 7 2012 @ 05:02 PM
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The left side is a mirror image of the right side.

Interesting picture.



posted on Mar, 7 2012 @ 05:47 PM
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It seems the question should be asked, how much effect does the laser pulse hitting the atom, have on the image we are seeing.

They must have taken several pictures, of which this is only one. I wonder how things look in the other pictures. We should have 14 electrons, 7 protons, and 7 neutrons being excited here. What is that in the center? It looks like a hole.



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