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The direct observation of molecular dynamics initiated by x-rays has been hindered to date by the lack of bright femtosecond sources of short-wavelength light. We used soft x-ray beams generated by high-harmonic upconversion of a femtosecond laser to photoionize a nitrogen molecule, creating highly excited molecular cations. A strong infrared pulse was then used to probe the ultrafast electronic and nuclear dynamics as the molecule exploded. We found that substantial fragmentation occursdoi:10.1126/science.1144920 pmid:17823349 fatcat:ttufbzmvw5fbbcblr3yyqkmici