Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

A 'movie' of ultrafast rotating molecules at a hundred billion per second

06.07.2015

A quantum wave-like nature was successfully observed in rotating nitrogen molecules

Can you imagine how subnano-scale molecules make an ultrafast rotation at a hundred billion per second? Do the ultrafast rotating subnano-scale molecules show a wave-like nature rather than particle-like behavior?


Image 1: "Snapshots" of ultrafast rotating nitrogen molecules at a hundred billion per second (femtosecond = a quadrillionth part of one second).

Credit: IMS/NINS

The Japanese research team led by Professor Yasuhiro Ohshima at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, and Dr Kenta Mizuse at the Institute for Molecular Science, National Institutes of Natural Sciences, successfully took sequential "snapshots" of ultrafast unidirectionally rotating molecules at a hundred billion per second.

To visualize such an ultrafast molecular rotation, the team developed a Coulomb explosion imaging setup with regulating rotational direction by a pair of time-delayed, polarization-skewed laser pulses. In the sequential "snapshots", the team successfully reported high-resolution direct imaging of direction-controlled rotational wave packets (RWPs) in nitrogen molecules, and the quantum wave-like nature was successfully observed. The result will guide more sophisticated molecular manipulations, such as an ultrafast molecular "stopwatch". This result is published in Science Advances (July 3rd, 2015)

Rotational wave packets (RWPs) are time-varying states of motion of rotating microscopic objects like molecules, and they change shapes in an ultrafast time scale, typically some parts in a trillion second. More importantly, because RWPs are governed by the fundamental microscopic physical laws, quantum mechanics, they show a wave-like nature, much different from what macroscopic things exhibit. So, RWPs are one of the ideal play grounds for examining the connection between quantum and classical worlds.

In the present study, the RWPs were created by using a pair of ultrafast laser pulses, of which mutual delay and polarization were properly adjusted. In addition, by using a specially designed ion-imaging setup, the team got images of unidirectional RWPs at a viewing angle that the previous 2D imaging studies could not adopt. As a result, the team succeeded in recording a series of images of time-varying molecular angular distribution with high-spatial resolution, which is nothing but a "movie" on the RWPs with a defined sense of rotation. The movie clearly shows the wave-like nature of the RWPs.

Multiple running waves get together at some time to give a highly concentrated spatial orientation and split after a while into parts having different angular velocities, while the overall movement keeps rotating in one direction. This propagation of wave packets may well be expected as a pedantic example of a simple quantum system like rotating molecules in free space, for which mutual interaction is essentially inoperative. Nevertheless, it has never been visualized experimentally so far.

There have been many proposals for novel application of unidirectional RWPs. For instance, unidirectionally rotating molecular gas ensembles are expected to make sophisticated polarization shaping of ultrafast light pulses. In addition, unidirectional RWPs exhibiting cogwheel like motion are expected to be used as a "stopwatch" to measure the precise time difference between pulses from two independent ultrafast laser systems.

In a purely fundamental point of view, on the other hand, it is so challenging to experimentalists to explore how the wave-like nature of RWPs is approaching the particle-like behavior for a macroscopic object. It is also of great interest to experimentally track the loss of the wave-like character by a mutual or external interaction. Professor Ohshima said, "We hope our high-resolution RWP imaging to be applicable in making a movie on such crossovers from quantum to classical worlds."

Article:

Quantum unidirectional rotation directly imaged with molecules
Kenta Mizuse, Kenta Kitano, Hirokazu Hasegawa, and Yasuhiro Ohshima
Science Advances, July 3rd, 2015
DOI: 10.11126/sciadv.1400185

Contacts:

Professor Yasuhiro Ohshima
Department of Chemistry, Graduate School of Science and Engineering, Tokyo Institute of Technology
TEL +81-3-5734-2899
FAX +81-3-5734-2264
E-mail ohshima@chem.titech.ac.jp
http://www.chemistry.titech.ac.jp/~ohshima/index_e.html

Press contacts:

Public Relations, Institute for Molecular Science, Natural Institutes of Natural Sciences
TEL/FAX: +81-564-55-7262
E-mail: kouhou@ims.ac.jp

Center for Public Affairs and Communications, Tokyo Institute of Technology
TEL: +81-3-5734-2975
FAX: +81-3-5734-3661
Email : media@jim.titech.ac.jp

Yasuhiro Ohshima | EurekAlert!

Further reports about: laser pulses microscopic polarization snapshots ultrafast laser

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth
09.12.2016 | Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

nachricht Plant-based substance boosts eyelash growth
09.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Polymerforschung IAP

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Electron highway inside crystal

Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.

Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth

09.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon

09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution

09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>