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    Publication Date: 2012-03-09
    Description: Establishing the structure of molecules and solids has always had an essential role in physics, chemistry and biology. The methods of choice are X-ray and electron diffraction, which are routinely used to determine atomic positions with sub-angstrom spatial resolution. Although both methods are currently limited to probing dynamics on timescales longer than a picosecond, the recent development of femtosecond sources of X-ray pulses and electron beams suggests that they might soon be capable of taking ultrafast snapshots of biological molecules and condensed-phase systems undergoing structural changes. The past decade has also witnessed the emergence of an alternative imaging approach based on laser-ionized bursts of coherent electron wave packets that self-interrogate the parent molecular structure. Here we show that this phenomenon can indeed be exploited for laser-induced electron diffraction (LIED), to image molecular structures with sub-angstrom precision and exposure times of a few femtoseconds. We apply the method to oxygen and nitrogen molecules, which on strong-field ionization at three mid-infrared wavelengths (1.7, 2.0 and 2.3 mum) emit photoelectrons with a momentum distribution from which we extract diffraction patterns. The long wavelength is essential for achieving atomic-scale spatial resolution, and the wavelength variation is equivalent to taking snapshots at different times. We show that the method has the sensitivity to measure a 0.1 A displacement in the oxygen bond length occurring in a time interval of approximately 5 fs, which establishes LIED as a promising approach for the imaging of gas-phase molecules with unprecedented spatio-temporal resolution.〈br /〉〈span class="detail_caption"〉Notes: 〈/span〉Blaga, Cosmin I -- Xu, Junliang -- DiChiara, Anthony D -- Sistrunk, Emily -- Zhang, Kaikai -- Agostini, Pierre -- Miller, Terry A -- DiMauro, Louis F -- Lin, C D -- England -- Nature. 2012 Mar 7;483(7388):194-7. doi: 10.1038/nature10820.〈br /〉〈span class="detail_caption"〉Author address: 〈/span〉Department of Physics, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio 43210, USA. cblaga@mps.ohio-state.edu〈br /〉〈span class="detail_caption"〉Record origin:〈/span〉 〈a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22398558" target="_blank"〉PubMed〈/a〉
    Print ISSN: 0028-0836
    Electronic ISSN: 1476-4687
    Topics: Biology , Chemistry and Pharmacology , Medicine , Natural Sciences in General , Physics
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