Research Article

Delay in Photoemission

Science  25 Jun 2010:
Vol. 328, Issue 5986, pp. 1658-1662
DOI: 10.1126/science.1189401

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Abstract

Photoemission from atoms is assumed to occur instantly in response to incident radiation and provides the basis for setting the zero of time in clocking atomic-scale electron motion. We used attosecond metrology to reveal a delay of 21±5 attoseconds in the emission of electrons liberated from the 2p orbitals of neon atoms with respect to those released from the 2s orbital by the same 100–electron volt light pulse. Small differences in the timing of photoemission from different quantum states provide a probe for modeling many-electron dynamics. Theoretical models refined with the help of attosecond timing metrology may provide insight into electron correlations and allow the setting of the zero of time in atomic-scale chronoscopy with a precision of a few attoseconds.

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