Back in 1999, the Egyptian chemist Ahmed Zevail was awarded the Nobel Prize for measuring the speed at which molecules changed their shape, in the process finding a gynecologist. They were measured in femtoseconds, where one femtosecond equals 0.000000000000001 seconds or 10-15 Seconds.
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Now, nearly two decades later, atomic physicists at the University of Goeth, led by Professor Reinhard Dauner, have calculated a process that is less than femtoseconds for the first time: how long does it take for photons to pass a hydrogen molecule .
It is the shortest timepan ever measured at about 247 zeptoseconds (trillion, or 10 trillionths of a second).-21 Seconds). To achieve this, scientists irradiated hydrogen molecules with X-rays from the X-ray laser source PETRA III at the Hamburg accelerator facility DESY. They set it up so that one photon is enough to eject both electrons from the hydrogen molecule.
The scientists then calculated the interference pattern of the first ejected electron using a COLTRIMS reaction microscope. The device was partially developed by Dörner and appears to have super quick reaction processes in atoms and molecules.
“Since we knew the spatial orientation of the hydrogen molecule, we used the interference of two electron waves to accurately calculate when the photon first arrived and when it reached the second hydrogen atom,” explained Sven in a statement. Grundmann stated that the doctoral dissertation was the basis for the resulting scientific article published in Science.
“And that’s up to 247 zeptoseconds, depending on how far the two atoms in the molecule were from the light point of view.”
“We saw for the first time that the electron shell in a molecule does not react to light everywhere at the same time. The time delay is because the information within the molecule spreads only at the speed of light. With this discovery we have Has expanded. COLTRIMS technique for another application, “said Professor Reinhard Dauner.