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October 27th, 2006
While it won't compete at the box office with Titanic, a movie made by an international collaboration of scientists working at Berkeley Lab's Advanced Light Source (ALS) stands alone for originality: it's the first ever based on recorded observations of light moving through matter at the molecular level. Unlike a box office blockbuster, this movie carries ramifications well beyond summer entertainment, as it illuminates a possibility for using light to alter material properties.
Says Cavalleri, "With our technique we can selectively control the direction of motion, which atoms are being excited and which remain still, and precisely at what frequency they are being agitated. Through this vibrational control, we should be able to control the conductive and magnetic properties of a solid, and its optical and possibly other properties as well."
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