Scientists in the USSR have reported chemical effects of shock waves in condensed materials which they cannot attribute to the effects of pressure and temperature. They postulate the existence of “catastrophic” chemical effects in the region of near-discontinuous change called the “shock front”1,2. Direct testing of this postulate requires time-resolved observations of chemical processes as the sample is traversed by the shock, and to this end we report here the development of methods for the measurement of temporal changes in the electronic spectra of condensed materials in such conditions. The time resolution is about 3 × l0−8s.
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Applied Physics A (2008)