For the first time, scientists were able to see how oxygen molecules move.

For more than 200 years, researchers have been using X-rays to look inside matter and study smaller structures — from crystals to nanoparticles. Now scientists from Goethe University, using the European XFEL X-ray laser, were the first to be able to study the movement of molecules, including oxygen.

For more than 200 years, researchers have been using X-rays to look inside matter and study smaller structures — from crystals to nanoparticles. Now scientists from Goethe University, using the European XFEL X-ray laser, were the first to be able to study the movement of molecules, including oxygen.

In order to take an X-ray of a diatomic molecule, such as oxygen, an extremely powerful and ultra-short X-ray pulse is needed. It was for these purposes that they used XFEL, which was first launched in 2017, it is one of the most powerful sources of x-ray radiation in the world.

Researchers first pick up two bound electrons. This leads to the creation of two positively charged ions, which, due to electrical repulsion, abruptly scatter from each other. It is at this moment that scientists are studying the processes.

This technique was called “electron diffraction imaging,” physicists at the Institute of Nuclear Physics spent several years developing it. Engineers modified the corresponding device to the requirements of the European XFEL.

In the future, using these images, it will be possible to study the photochemical reactions of individual molecules in high resolution. In addition, these are the first measurement results published since the start of the work of the experimental station of small quantum systems (SQS) at the European XFEL at the end of 2018.

Author: John Kessler
Graduated From the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Previously, worked in various little-known media. Currently is an expert, editor and developer of Free News.
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