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Attosecond Pulses

2023 OCT 4

Preliminary   > Science and Technology   >   Innovation and New technologies   >   Innovation and New technologies

Why in news?

  • The Nobel Prize in Physics 2023 has been awarded to Pierre Agostini, Ferenc Krausz and Anne L’Huillier for experimental methods that generate attosecond pulses of light for the study of electron dynamics in matter.

About Attosecond pulses

  • Attosecond pulses are incredibly short bursts of light that last for attoseconds, which are billionths of a billionth of a second. They have numerous applications in the field of ultrafast physics and can be used for various purposes.
  • Electrons rapid movement made them challenging to study directly. Electrons move so quickly that capturing them requires extremely short pulses of light such as attosecond.

Applications of Attosecond pulses

  • Studying Electron Dynamics: Attosecond pulses are invaluable for investigating the ultrafast motion of electrons within atoms and molecules. They allow scientists to observe processes like electron tunneling and electron rearrangement in real-time.
  • Understanding Chemical Reactions: Attosecond pulses can capture the dynamics of chemical reactions with unprecedented detail. This helps chemists understand how molecules break and form bonds during reactions.
  • Probing Molecular Structure: By using attosecond pulses, researchers can probe the structure of complex molecules, helping to unravel their three-dimensional arrangement.
  • Control of Electrons: Attosecond pulses can be used to control the motion of electrons in materials. This has implications for the development of new electronic and optoelectronic devices.
  • Attosecond Spectroscopy: Attosecond spectroscopy techniques enable scientists to investigate the energy levels and properties of atoms and molecules on extremely short timescales.
  • Ultrafast Imaging: Attosecond pulses can be used for ultrafast imaging of matter. They have the potential to capture snapshots of extremely fast processes, such as electron motion in materials.
  • Quantum Control: Attosecond pulses are a tool for quantum control experiments, where researchers manipulate quantum states of matter on extremely short timescales. This has implications for quantum computing and quantum information processing.
  • X-ray Sources: Attosecond pulses can be used to generate extremely short bursts of X-rays. This has applications in X-ray imaging techniques, including studying the structure of materials on the atomic scale.



The efforts to attain the attosecond pulses of light have become frequent news in the recent past. What is/are the importance/importances of this?

  1. It enables us to investigate the ultrafast motion of electrons within atoms and molecules.
  2. It is useful in analysing movements of lithospheric plates.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2