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In Pursuit of the Briefest Beat

Attosecond pulses of light could open electrons’ fast-paced world

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2:38pm, March 12, 2010

In his mind, Paul Corkum envisioned a dramatic thriller. Its actors were the pulsating electric fields of ordinary infrared laser beams and the electrons of atoms in the laser’s path. As the plot unfolded, a puzzle would be resolved — opening, he realized, a new frontier in the measurement of the ultrafast and the ultrabrief.

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