When atoms react, electrons are exchanged. Now, a team from Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany have revealed movie footage of the movement of electrons.
The amazing thing about the process is the speed at which the electrons move. The process is measured in attoseconds – one attosecond is a billionth of a billionth of a second.
In order to ‘watch’ this movement of an electron, H+ (or the molecular hydrogen ion) is used. H+ is used as it is the simplest molecule – there is only one electron in the molecule. The molecular ion is pulsed (very quickly) with an infra red laser. This causes the molecule to be ionised and researchers can ‘watch’ the process.
I am not sure what the real world uses of this experiment are but it involves some pretty cool science all the same!
To read more about this process in New Scientist, click here.