Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Snapshots of the movement of molecules in a billionth of a second

05.08.2004


New method allows scientists to probe fundamental questions of surface science



A team of researchers including University of California, Riverside Assistant Professor of Chemistry, Ludwig Bartels has developed a technique to take extremely fast snapshots of molecular and atomic movement. The development is considered a significant advance in surface science, the study of chemical reactions taking place on the surface of solids.
The results are reported in the current issue of the Journal Science and were also reported in the June 24 issue of Science Express... the online prerelease of the most important articles in Science. The article, "Real-Space Observation of Molecular Motion Induced by Femtosecond Laser Pulses," details how carbon monoxide molecules move on a copper substrate when hit with extremely rapid laser pulses - a femtosecond is one millionth of a nanosecond - and tracks their movements.

"It was possible to identify the individual site-to-site displacements of molecules undergoing ultra-fast dynamics induced by femtosecond laser pulses," Bartels said, characterizing the technique as a way of getting something akin to snapshots of the molecules’ movements. Bartels’ co-authors in the paper included Tony F. Heinz, Dietmar Möller and Feng Wang of Columbia University; and Ernst Knoesel of Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ.



"Scanning probe microscopy has the capability of reaching directly down to the natural spatial scale of atoms and molecules," Bartels said. "While femtosecond laser techniques have the capability of reaching down to the time scale of atomic events.

"There has been considerable interest in the very challenging problem of combining these two capabilities," he added. "While we have not yet achieved the ultimate goal of a real-time, real-space movies, the current paper reports what we believe to be a very significant advance in combining the two very powerful techniques."

The new technique allows scientists to probe very important fundamental questions in surface science, according to Bartels and his co-authors. They include such questions as what substrate excitations drive surface diffusion of absorbates? Surface diffusion is a very basic and important process in surface science, playing a key role in processes as diverse as the formation of crystals and the activity of catalysts.

"This is very basic research but it has implications for many other areas in science," said Bartels. "Catalysts, like the one in the exhaust system in every car, are made from a porous material. The exhaust gas is passed through it and the pollutants such as carbon monoxide and nitric oxide can stick to the surface of the catalyst material."

A small portion of the catalyst surface can transform the pollutant into benign gasses while the rest of the surface supports these active sites. Understanding how carbon monoxide moves across a catalyst surface to find the active sites may ultimately allow the design of more efficient catalysts. The article’s findings offer a new way of studying the very fast movement of carbon monoxide on surfaces.

Ricardo Duran | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ucr.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Topologische Quantenchemie
21.07.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Chemische Physik fester Stoffe

nachricht Topological Quantum Chemistry
21.07.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Chemische Physik fester Stoffe

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

Im Focus: On the way to a biological alternative

A bacterial enzyme enables reactions that open up alternatives to key industrial chemical processes

The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....

Im Focus: The 1 trillion tonne iceberg

Larsen C Ice Shelf rift finally breaks through

A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...

Im Focus: Laser-cooled ions contribute to better understanding of friction

Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision

Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA looks to solar eclipse to help understand Earth's energy system

21.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

Stanford researchers develop a new type of soft, growing robot

21.07.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Vortex photons from electrons in circular motion

21.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>