Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

World’s first UV ’ruler’ sizes up atomic world

20.05.2005


The world’s most accurate "ruler" made with extreme ultraviolet light has been built and demonstrated with ultrafast laser pulses by scientists at JILA, a joint institute of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the University of Colorado at Boulder.


The new JILA ultraviolet "ruler" is made by exposing xenon gas atoms to a special type of infrared laser light called a femtosecond frequency "comb."



The new device, which consistently generates pulses of light lasting just femtoseconds (quadrillionths of a second, or millionths of a billionth of a second) in the ultraviolet region of the electromagnetic spectrum, will be described in the May 20 issue of Physical Review Letters.*

The device is expected to become an important tool for ultraprecise measurements in many fields of science, including chemistry, physics and astronomy. A ruler made with shorter wavelengths of light makes it possible to "see" more precise differences than ever before in the energy levels of light emissions that identify specific atoms, in the timing of chemical reactions, or, if additional applications are developed, in the dimensions of certain nanometer-scale objects. The new device also can be compared to a camera with ultrafast shutter speeds and consistent shot-to-shot frame speed and stability, allowing scientists to take real-time "pictures" of finer structures and dynamics. By combining many such pictures at a high speed, scientists can gain a more detailed understanding of many phenomena.


"This ultraviolet light source has a spectacularly high resolution," says Jun Ye, a NIST Fellow who leads the JILA research group. "On the technological side, the system we used to produce this light is simple and low cost, without active amplifiers."

The new laser device generates a "frequency comb," so-called because the frequency spectrum--a graphical representation of the pattern made by many successive laser pulses building on each other--looks like the evenly spaced teeth of a hair comb. (See graphic.) The new comb is a short-wavelength version of the optical frequency combs that in recent years have enabled demonstrations of optical atomic clocks, which are expected to be as much as 100 times more accurate than today’s microwave-based atomic clocks. A femtosecond comb, because of its high speed (or repetition rate), has the finest teeth of any optical ruler.

Laura Ost | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nist.gov

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form
18.08.2017 | Cornell University

nachricht Astrophysicists explain the mysterious behavior of cosmic rays
18.08.2017 | Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Map of the Cell’s Power Station

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet

18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>