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Chemical bond breaking using molecule's electrons observed for the first time

Scientists at the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) and the University of Ottawa (uOttawa) recently saw their efforts rewarded when they witnessed a bird’s eye view of a chemical bond as it breaks - a scientific first.

The making and breaking of chemical bonds underlie the biochemical processes of life itself. A greater understanding of the quantum processes that lead to chemical reactions may lead to new strategies in the design and control of molecules – ultimately resulting in scientific breakthroughs in health care and diagnostic medicine, quantum computing, nanotechnology, environmental science and energy. This breakthrough will be featured in the July 29th edition of Nature, a renowned international, interdisciplinary weekly journal dedicated to science.

“Our government is investing in science and technology to create good jobs, strengthen the economy and improve the quality of life of Canadians,” said the Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State (Science and Technology). “This important Canadian breakthrough could lead to medical, environmental and technological advancements that benefit our families and communities.”

The research was conducted at the joint Attosecond Science Laboratory (JASLab), a strategic collaboration between NRC and uOttawa. Its shared laser facility is one of the top laboratories in the world conducting research on the attosecond timescale.

According to Dr. Danial Wayner, Vice-President of NRC Physical Sciences, JASLab “is a welcome addition to the impressive photonics R&D infrastructure that government, industry and academia have built in Ottawa to support pioneering work in ultrafast laser physics and ensure that emerging cutting-edge technologies are transferred to innovative Canadian firms.”

Source: National Research Council Canada /...

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