Visualizing Picometric Quantum Ripples of Ultrafast Wave-Packet Interference

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Science  17 Mar 2006:
Vol. 311, Issue 5767, pp. 1589-1592
DOI: 10.1126/science.1121240

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Interference fringes in vibrating molecules are a signature of quantum mechanics, but are often so short-lived and closely spaced that they elude visualization. We have experimentally visualized dynamical quantum interferences, which appear and disappear in less than 100 femtoseconds in the iodine molecule synchronously with the periodic crossing of two counterpropagating nuclear wave packets. The obtained images have picometer and femtosecond spatiotemporal resolution, representing a detailed picture of the quantum interference.

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