Using extreme ultraviolet light bursts lasting 0.0000000000000002 seconds—that’s 200 quintillionths of a second—Arvinder Sandhu and his team at the University of Arizona have managed to freeze the unimaginably fast action that ensues when oxygen molecules are zapped with high energies for incredibly short amounts of time.
“We were able to study what happens to the atomic structure of Helium in the presence of a strong electric field,” says Niranjan Shivaram, a graduate student in Sandhu’s lab, “in real time, as the laser pulse goes through.”
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