Editors' ChoiceApplied Physics

Mind the (nano)gap

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Science  06 May 2016:
Vol. 352, Issue 6286, pp. 669-670
DOI: 10.1126/science.352.6286.669-f

Modern pulsed lasers make it possible to time molecular processes that happen even faster than trillionths of a second. A pump pulse starts off the process, while an investigative probe pulse gets sent on a steadily lengthened detour to delay its arrival by precise increments. Unfortunately, the detour gets impractically long when phenomena last for several nanoseconds. Nakagawa et al. introduce a technique to bridge this coverage gap. Rather than setting a detour, they apply a train of probe pulses spanning a wide variety of delays (subnanosecond to millisecond) relative to the pump pulse. The full time frame is then filled in steadily shot by shot.

Optics Lett. 41, 1498 (2016).

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