The realm of the ultra-small is ultrafast: atoms and molecules vibrate at quadrillionths-of-a-second cycles.
This movement affects the function of nanoscale materials and must be considered in everything nanotechnology touches, including solar energy efficiency, solar storage and computer design. But understanding such molecular and atomic fluctuations requires that they are recorded and analyzed. Stanford researchers have perfected techniques for atomic-scale photography utilizing the Linac Coherent Light Source, a “camera” that employs an X-ray beam to capture high-resolution, frame-by-frame imagery of individual atoms in motion. These images ultimately could lead to: