For the first time scientists have been able to take a close-up picture of the inside of an atom.
The image represents a scale so small that even the individual electrons are visible whizzing around the atom. It was taken using a new 'quantum microscope' developed by Aneta Stodolna and her colleagues at the FOM Institute for Atomic and Molecular Physics. To obtain the image, Stodolna zapped the atom with laser pulses, creating an interference pattern that could be magnified and captured on camera.
"This experiment - initially proposed more than 30 years ago - provides a unique look at one of the few atomic systems that has an analytical solution to the Schrödinger equation," researcher Christopher T. L. Smeenk wrote in a paper that accompanied the experiment.
"Scientists have captured the first ever photo of an electron’s whizzing orbit within a hydrogen atom, thanks to a unique new microscopy technique."
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