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World Record: 53 Attosecond Electron Pulse Created

Scientists at the University of Rostock in Germany have broken the record for creating the shortest pulse of electrons. The pulse measured just 53 attoseconds, which is equivalent to 53 billionths of a billionth of a second.

Potential Applications

  • This breakthrough could lead to the development of more accurate electron microscopes, enabling the capture of sharp, stationary images at the atomic level.
  • It could also speed up data transmission in computer chips by increasing the rate at which information can be transmitted through pulses of electrons.

How the Record was Achieved

Ordinary circuits limit the length of electron pulses due to the frequency at which electrons can oscillate inside matter. In order to overcome this limitation, the team at the University of Rostock used a short burst of light to trigger a pulse of electrons. By focusing lasers to knock electrons off the tip of a tungsten needle and into a vacuum, they were able to detect a 53-attosecond pulse of electrons, shorter than the pulse of light that initiated it.

Advantages of Attosecond Electron Pulse

Using such a short pulse of electrons in electron microscopes could improve the resolution by allowing the capture of particles in motion. Currently, images obtained by electron microscopes often appear blurry due to the movements of the electrons. The attosecond electron pulse could improve the resolution by enabling a shorter slice in time to be focused on, similar to reducing the shutter speed of a camera.

In addition to capturing atoms in motion, the attosecond electron pulse could also allow scientists to observe how electrons move between atoms.

Conclusion

This world record achievement in creating a 53-attosecond electron pulse opens up new possibilities for improving electron microscopes and data transmission in computer chips.

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