Photoelectrons Show How Quick a Flash Is

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Science  30 Nov 2001:
Vol. 294, Issue 5548, pp. 1805-1806
DOI: 10.1126/science.294.5548.1805a

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To track the lightning-fast activity of electrons inside atoms, researchers have longed to generate and measure individual pulses of radiation as short as a few hundred attoseconds. Now, in this week's issue of Nature, researchers report that they have produced isolated x-ray pulses 650 attoseconds long. Using these pulses like flashbulbs, the researchers have traced the energy level transitions of electrons in an atomic gas with a resolution of 150 attoseconds.