Making a molecular movie: how it works

This video explains the basics of how scientists at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory use powerful X-rays from the Linac Coherent Light Source to make molecular movies.

most molecular movies are made using a

pump probe technique involving two

energetic pulses the first pulse is the

pump and kicks off the reaction being

studied a precisely delayed probe pulse

creates a snapshot by altering the time

separation between the pump and probe

scientists create frames of a movie of

the reaction the pump pulse shown in

blue is typically an optical laser that

instantly sets the molecule in motion

the probe pulse shown in red uses x-ray

light or electrons to allow for

atomic-scale resolution the resulting

molecular movies show how molecules

behave at their natural scales of size

and time moving in quadrillions of a



Chris Smith & Andy Freeberg/SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

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