Navigation Links
Watching electrons move in real time

This release is also available in Chinese on EurekAlert! Chinese.

Washington, D.C. (September 21, 2010) -- At its most basic level, understanding chemistry means understanding what electrons are doing. Research published in The Journal of Chemical Physics not only maps the movement of electrons in real time but also observes a concerted electron and proton transfer that is quite different from any previously known phase transitions in the model crystal, ammonium sulfate. By extending X-ray powder diffraction into the femtosecond realm, the researchers were able to map the relocation of charges in the ammonium sulfate crystal after they were displaced by photoexcitation.

"Our prototype experiment produces a sort of 'molecular movie' of the atoms in action," says author Michael Woerner of the Max-Born-Institut fr Nichtlineare Optik und Kurzzeitspektroskopie in Germany. "The time and spatial resolution is now at atomic time and length scales, respectively."

Electron positions were mapped by observing the diffraction of X-ray pulses lasting tens of femtoseconds (quadrillionth of a second). Positions of protons and other nuclei were deduced from the locations of regions of high electron density. Within the crystal, the excited electrons transferred from the sulfate groups to a tight channel within crystal matrix. This channel was stabilized by the transfer of protons from adjacent ammonium groups into the channel. This transfer mechanism had not been previously observed or proposed, and the researchers had expected to see much smaller displacements.

According to Woerner, the technique should be applicable to structural studies of materials ranging from biomolecules to high-temperature superconductors. "We expect that the technique will be applied to many interesting material systems." He says. "In principle, femtosecond X-ray powder diffraction can be applied to any crystalline form of matter. Only the complexity of crystals and the presence of heavy elements, which reduces the penetration depth of X-rays, set some constraints."


Contact: Jason Socrates Bardi
American Institute of Physics

Related biology news :

1. Europe and China watching Earth together
2. Watching movies featuring characters who smoke negatively influences Mexican-American teens
3. Scientists show theres nothing boring about watching paint dry
Post Your Comments:
(Date:5/16/2016)... , May 16, 2016   EyeLock LLC ... today announced the opening of an IoT Center of ... strengthen and expand the development of embedded iris biometric ... unprecedented level of convenience and security with unmatched biometric ... one,s identity aside from DNA. EyeLock,s platform uses video ...
(Date:5/9/2016)... 9, 2016 Elevay is currently ... expanding freedom for high net worth professionals seeking travel ... globally connected world, there is still no substitute for ... duplicate sealing your deal with a firm handshake. This ... taking advantage of citizenship via investment programs like those ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... , April 28, 2016 Infosys ... (NYSE: INFY ), and Samsung SDS, a global ... that will provide end customers with a more secure, fast ...      (Logo: ) , ... but it also plays a fundamental part in enabling and ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... launch of the Supplyframe Design Lab . Located in Pasadena, Calif., the ... future of how hardware projects are designed, built and brought to market. , ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... 2016 , ... In a new case report published today in STEM CELLS ... developed lymphedema after being treated for breast cancer benefitted from an injection of stem ... with this debilitating, frequent side effect of cancer treatment. , Lymphedema refers ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016  Blueprint Bio, a ... discoveries to the medical community, has closed its Series ... Matthew Nunez . "We have received a ... the capital we need to meet our current goals," ... provide us the runway to complete validation on the ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 On ... session at 4,833.32, down 0.22%; the Dow Jones Industrial Average ... 500 closed at 2,085.45, down 0.17%. has initiated coverage ... INFI ), Nektar Therapeutics (NASDAQ: NKTR ), Aralez ... Inc. (NASDAQ: BIND ). Learn more about these ...
Breaking Biology Technology: