News of the WeekLASER PHYSICS

Powerful Pulses Color Thomson Scattering

Science  18 Dec 1998:
Vol. 282, Issue 5397, pp. 2166-2167
DOI: 10.1126/science.282.5397.2166

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Not long after identifying the electron in 1897, British physicist J. J. Thomson showed that powerful pulses of light could make electrons oscillate up and down and reemit light at the same frequency in all directions, a phenomenon later dubbed Thomson scattering. Now, almost 100 years later, researchers have applied much stronger light to electrons and coaxed them into performing a more complex dance step, tracing out figure-8 shapes and reemitting the light in rainbow colors.