X-ray Pulses Chopped to Femtoseconds

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Science  24 Mar 2000:
Vol. 287, Issue 5461, pp. 2130-2131
DOI: 10.1126/science.287.5461.2130

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On page 2237, a research team at the Advanced Light Source (ALS) synchrotron at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory reports generating x-ray pulses lasting a mere 300 quadrillionths of a second, or femtoseconds. The researchers are now trying to shave those pulses down to 100 femtoseconds. By giving freeze-frame views, the pulses may help unveil intimate details of key atoms in molecules in disordered solids and liquids as they undergo chemical reactions.