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May 25 2013

'Quantum microscope' peers into the hydrogen atom


The first direct observation of the orbital structure of an excited hydrogen atom has been made by an international team of researchers. The observation was made using a newly developed "quantum microscope", which uses photoionization microscopy to visualize the structure directly. The team's demonstration proves that "photoionization microscopy", which was first proposed more than 30 years ago, can be experimentally realized and can serve as a tool to explore the subtleties of quantum mechanics.

The wavefunction is a central tenet of quantum theory put simply, it contains the maximum knowledge that is available about the state of a quantum system.

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