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The Nobel Prize for Physics has been awarded

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"This year's Nobel Prize in Physics rewards experiments with light that capture "the shortest of moments" and opened a window on the world of electrons."

Seems like a very big deal.They seem to be saying that practical or theoretical consequences  may be in the pipeline.

Does anyone here have an understanding on the ongoing research into this field?

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I've just received an email from a friend who's working on the theoretical part of the same stuff these people are doing. These are the people who've made attosecond-short (10-18 seconds) pulses of light a reality. The record is in 25 attoseconds. People already call "attoseconds" a fraction-of-a-femtosecond-short pulse of light.

The one 25-attoseconds-short already allows you to see electrons moving. Amazing.


Edited by joigus
minor correction
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8 minutes ago, Genady said:

It is an amazing achievement.

Did they see anything unexpected?

I'm asking my friend, see what he tells me. He's a university professor and a researcher in non-linear optics, so he should know...

BTW, @geordief, a clarification on what I meant before:

A femtosecond would be 10-15 seconds. People in the field already call a 0.999 fs short pulse an "attosecond", even though it's almost 1000 attos (a femto).

In the meantime, looking up:


You find,


See also[edit]

Which, I think, must have the answer to our question.

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4 minutes ago, Genady said:

What does it mean? How do the moving electrons appear?

A very uneducated guess is that you can run two  stills of the scene (one immediately following another)   like when they first invented the movies  and you could see a lady undressing  or a horse galloping(so I have heard) .


It should show "movement" on the small scale.

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14 minutes ago, Genady said:

What does it mean? How do the moving electrons appear?

I'm guessing that's a piece of journalistic lingo. Sorry, it's not my claim, it's my friend's. He seems to have picked it up from the newsreel. It's not like he wrote it trying to be rigorous.

It does sound akin to some kind of stroboscopic view, like @geordief suggests.

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2 hours ago, Genady said:

What does it mean? How do the moving electrons appear?

OK. So here's what my friend tells me. Keep in mind it's not a technical explanation...,


Sí, claro, se hace, con su incertidumbre. De hecho ven como los electrones se van moviendo de un átomo a otro para formar una molécula, tengo entendido.

Es que es un poco mi tema, bueno, los pulsos de attosegundos en sí mismos, no su utilidad para la interacción con la materia y ver electrones


Yes, sure. They do it with their uncertainties. They actually see how electrons go from one atom to another to form a molecule, as I understand. It's kind of my topic. Well.., the attosecond pulses themselves, not their utility concerning interactions with matter and watching electrons.

</end of translation>

Maybe the "see" and "watch" had better be put in quotation marks, or something like that.

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