High Powered Laser Used To Study World at Atomic Level
A high powered laser was used by a multi university team based at UC Santa Barbara to advance the tool used by scientists to study the world at the atomic level.
Amped up Electron Paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectrometer was used by the team to study the electron spin of free radicals and nitrogen atoms trapped inside a diamond. This study will allow scientists to study tiny molecules at a high resolution.
The study that is being carried in this week in Nature included researchers from UCSB, University of Southern California (USC), and Florida State University.
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"We developed the world's first free-electron laser-powered EPR spectrometer," said Susumu Takahashi, assistant professor of chemistry at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, and lead author of the Nature paper. "This ultra high-frequency, high-power EPR system gives us extremely good time resolution. For example, it enables us to film biological molecules in motion."
With the help of a high powered laser the researchers enhanced the EPR spectroscopy, which uses electromagnetic radiation and magnetic fields to stimulate electrons. These stimulated electrons release electromagnetic radiation that reveals details about the structure of the targeted molecules.
With the aid of UCSB's free electron laser (FEL), known for emitting a pulsed beam of electromagnetic radiation, the team was able to use 240 GHz of electromagnetic radiation to power an EPR spectrometer.
"Each electron can be thought of as a tiny magnet that senses the magnetic fields caused by atoms in its nano-neighborhood," said Mark Sherwin, professor of physics and director of the Institute for Terahertz Science and Technology at UCSB. "With FEL-powered EPR, we have shattered the electromagnetic bottleneck that EPR has faced, enabling electrons to report on faster motions occurring over longer distances than ever before. We look forward to breakthrough science that will lay foundations for discoveries like new drugs and more efficient plastic solar cells."