Scientists have directly seen the first step in a light-driven chemical reaction for the first time. They used an X-ray free-electron laser at SLAC to capture nearly instantaneous changes in the distribution of electrons when light hit a ring-shaped molecule called CHD. Within 30 femtoseconds, or millionths of a billionth […]

A new “refrigerator” super-cools molecules to nanokelvin temperatures. The technique may enable more complex, molecule-based quantum computing. Credit: José-Luis Olivares, MIT Technique may enable molecule-based quantum computing. For years, scientists have looked for ways to cool molecules down to ultracold temperatures, at which point the molecules should slow to a […]

In an ultra-small geometry under the right conditions, electrons can be treated like particles bouncing off a wall. If the electrons are contained in a wire and symmetry is broken, the electrons can be preferentially funneled in one direction and blocked in the other, creating an electrical diode. Credit: J. […]

Left: The red circles indicate where samples were taken. The team avoided sampling from the central part of the portrait. The areas noninvasively examined via X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy are marked in white. Right: The quality of the two seams seen on the back of the painting is different. Credit: Nikolay […]

Direct hit. A soft x-ray (white) hits a holmium atom (green). A photo-electron zooms off the holmium atom, which releases energy (purple) that jumps to the 80-carbon fullerene cage surrounding the holmium. The cage then also loses an electron. Credit: Razib Obaid/University of Connecticut Radiation damage spreads among close neighbors: […]