Femtosecond Laser Ionisation Mass Spectrometry
Observation of a process requires a probe whose duration is of the order of or less than the characteristic timescale of the event. This paradigm has guided the progress in the study of dynamic processes and has been the catalyst in attempts to produce ever-shorter probes. In many instances, the timescale associated with transition phenomena can be of the order of the period of optical radiation - for 500 nm, the period is 1.7 fs (1 fs = 10-15s). Molecular vibrations typically involve energies of 0.1 eV and have a timescale of tens of fs. Molecular rotations are 100 times slower still and may be studied with ps (1 ps = 10-12s) pulses. The situation holds generally in disparate fields: for example, phase transitions in highly excited semiconductors, impulsive phonon generation in solids, biological changes at molecular level etc. proceed on the sub-ps timescale.
KeywordsQuartz Benzene Argon Toluene Uranium
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