Department of Physics and Astronomy: Publications and Other Research


Date of this Version



Struct. Dyn. 7, 024301 (2020)


© Author(s) 2020.

doi: 10.1063/1.5144518


The conversion of light into usable chemical and mechanical energy is pivotal to several biological and chemical processes, many of which occur in solution. To understand the structure–function relationships mediating these processes, a technique with high spatial and temporal resolutions is required. Here, we report on the design and commissioning of a liquid-phase mega-electron-volt (MeV) ultrafast electron dif- fraction instrument for the study of structural dynamics in solution. Limitations posed by the shallow penetration depth of electrons and the resulting information loss due to multiple scattering and the technical challenge of delivering liquids to vacuum were overcome through the use of MeV electrons and a gas-accelerated thin liquid sheet jet. To demonstrate the capabilities of this instrument, the structure of water and its network were resolved up to the 3rd hydration shell with a spatial resolution of 0.6 Å; preliminary time-resolved experiments demonstrated a temporal resolution of 200 fs.