Zeptosecond birth time delay in molecular photoionization

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Science  16 Oct 2020:
Vol. 370, Issue 6514, pp. 339-341
DOI: 10.1126/science.abb9318

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The travel time of light in a molecule

There is currently considerable interest in experimental studies of various ultrafast processes. Of particular interest are the real-time dynamics of photoionization, one of the most fundamental processes caused by the light-matter interaction, in which the absorption of a photon leads to the ejection of an electron and the formation of anion. Using an electron interferometric technique, Grundmann et al. report a birth time delay on the order of a few hundred zeptoseconds between two electron emissions from the two sides of molecular hydrogen, which is interpreted as the travel time of the photon across the molecule. The proposed technique is generally applicable to more complex systems, and further studies are necessary to support this interpretation.

Science, this issue p. 339

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