Friday, May 24, 2013
A Snapshot of the Inside of an Atom - ScienceNOW: ...the team first fired two lasers at hydrogen atoms inside a chamber, kicking off electrons at speeds and directions that depended on their underlying wave functions. A strong electric field inside the chamber guided the electrons to positions on a planar detector that depended on their initial velocities rather than on their initial positions. So the distribution of electrons striking the detector matched the wave function the electrons had at the moment they left their hydrogen nuclei behind. The apparatus displays the electron distribution on a phosphorescent screen as light and dark rings, which the team photographed using a high-resolution digital camera.