As light pulses get shorter in time, they correspondingly get broader in frequency. Kobayashi et al.take advantage of both properties of attosecond pulses to elucidate iodine monobromide (IBr) photodissociation by detecting ultrafast bromine and iodine spectral shifts simultaneously. A preliminary burst of light weakens the I–Br bond. Then, as the atoms fly apart, they reach a configuration where the bond vibration can couple ground and excited electronic states. The broadband probe pulse reveals rapid changes in each atom’s electronic structure at this juncture.


Science, this issue p. 79



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