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September 8th, 2005
The Tiniest Doors Begin to Open
Ahmed Zewail and his group at Caltech are the kings of the very, very short time scale. For many years now, he’s been using extremely short laser pulses to accomplish a long list of previously unheard-of results in spectroscopy. (A non-specialist wouldn’t go far wrong by thinking of him as a molecular-scale Harold Edgerton.) His work has not gone unrecognized.
And now there’s a fighting chance that he and his people have recently accomplished something that would be worthy of a second Nobel: UEM, for Ultrafast Electron Microscopy. They’re taking electron microscope snapshots, one trillionth of a second at a time.
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