Imaging density disturbances in water with a 41.3-attosecond time resolution

Phys Rev Lett. 2004 Jun 11;92(23):237401. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.92.237401. Epub 2004 Jun 11.


We show that the momentum flexibility of inelastic x-ray scattering may be exploited to invert its loss function, allowing real time imaging of density disturbances in a medium. We show the disturbance arising from a point source in liquid water, with a resolution of 41.3 attoseconds (4.13 x 10(-17) s) and 1.27 A (1.27 x 10(-8) cm). This result is used to determine the structure of the electron cloud around a photoexcited chromophore in solution, as well as the wake generated in water by a 9 MeV gold ion. We draw an analogy with pump-probe techniques and suggest that energy-loss scattering may be applied more generally to the study of attosecond phenomena.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Elasticity
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Scattering, Radiation
  • Water / chemistry*
  • X-Rays


  • Water