Chemical turnaround

German researchers have used ultrafast spectroscopy to observe the fleeting intramolecular electronic charge separations that take place during photochemical reactions. Their observations suggest that thousands of molecules in a molecular crystal surrounding the reaction center perform pirouettes to align themselves during this fractional moment. Researchers at the Max-Born-Institute for Nonlinear Optics and Ultrafast Spectroscopy and at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich, German, performed the study using short bursts of laser light. Ultrafast x-ray flashes could then freeze the action.