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Lasers and Chemical Change
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April 23, Laser amplifier, used to create intense ultra-short pulses. Short laser pulses interacting with ethylene. X 4, — Published 7 April Provided by Vienna University of Technology.
Laser controls chemical reaction rates – Physics World
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Sign in. Macdonald Laboratory, are part of an international collaborative project published in the Oct. A femtosecond is one-millionth of a billionth of a second, which is a million times shorter than a nanosecond. Until recently, there was no way to measure what happens during a chemical reaction in that short of a period. Lin's research group made its first molecular movie of an oxygen molecule using lasers in , but to record a larger molecule -- such as the four-atom acetylene molecule -- they needed a more advanced laser.
The international team used the molecule's own electrons to scatter the molecule -- a process called mid-infrared laser-induced electron diffraction, or LIED -- and capture snapshots of acetylene as it is breaking apart. An intense laser is used to affectan acetylene molecule -- composed of two hydrogen atoms and two carbon atoms -- to strip out an electron and initiate the breakup of the molecule.
After nine femtoseconds, the laser drives the free electron back to the elongated molecule to create an image. According to Lin, acetylene's four-atom chemical structure provides multiple possibilities where the bonds could break. Being able to measure where and when those breaks occur can help researchers better understand chemical reactions, which Lin said will lead to better control of a reaction and is applicable to multiple areas of science.
But if you have a way to see each second of the ball in the air, you can figure out why it ends up where it does and potentially change the way you throw it to control the outcome or to influence it in real time.