by: Ahmed H. Zewail

The August issue of Scientific American includes an article by Caltech Professor and Nobel Laureate Ahmed Zewail, who is a principal investigator at the Moore Foundation-supported Center for Ultrafast Science & Technology at Caltech. “Filming the Invisible in 4D: New Microscopy Makes Movies of Nanoscale Objects in Action” highlights pioneering research methods that integrate time, a fourth dimension, in electron microscopy “movies” of processes at the scale of atoms and femtoseconds. The Center focuses on fundamental studies of molecular complexity, the development of the technology of ultrafast imaging, and its applications to real systems of physical, chemical, and biological function. Outcomes for Moore Foundation funding have included the creation and maintenance of the ultrafast imaging facility.

The human eye is limited in its vision. We cannot see objects much thinner than a human hair (a fraction of a millimeter) or resolve motions quicker than a blink (a tenth of a second). Advances in optics and microscopy over the past millennium have, of course, let us peer far beyond the limits of the naked eye, to view exquisite images such as a micrograph of a virus or a stroboscopic photograph of a bullet at the millisecond it punched through a lightbulb.

Read the full article here.


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