Snapshot surface chemistry

Ahmed Zewail and his colleagues at California Institute of Technology have developed a new ultrafast electron crystallography (UEC) technique for studying the surfaces of technologically important materials such as gallium arsenide. The crystallographic technique based on the diffraction of electrons rather than the more traditional X-ray, allows them to observe changes on a surface "frame-by-frame". UEC provides unprecedented atomic-scale resolution of surface dynamic. "We believe that UEC is now poised for many applications in the general area of surface science, nanometer-scale materials, and macromolecular structures," Zewail told X-factors webzine.