High-speed photography is the science of taking pictures of very fast phenomena. It’s first application was the investigation into whether horse’s feet were actually all off the ground during a gallop.
Let us now shift to a much smaller time scale. Instead of tenth of a second, how about 10^(-18) seconds, called an attosecond? What can we resolve now? Can we create a 1 femtosecond film, where 1 femtosecond = 1000 as?
We study the interaction of matter with ultrashort flashes of light. Such fast flashes of light are on a time scale of attoseconds to femtoseconds, which is fast enough to capture the motion of bound electrons inside atoms, molecules and solids.
The ultimate goal is accurate imaging and control of electron dynamics on the attosecond time-scale. This has both practical (i.e. control of chemical reactions, light-wave controlled electronics) and fundamental (real-time observation of quantum mechanical processes) aims.