Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scientists capture the speediest ever motion in a molecule

03.03.2006


The fastest ever observations of protons moving within a molecule open a new window on fundamental processes in chemistry and biology, researchers report today in the journal Science.



Their capturing of the movements of the lightest and therefore speediest components of a molecule will allow scientists to study molecular behaviour previously too fast to be detected. It gives a new in-depth understanding of how molecules behave in chemical processes, providing opportunities for greater study and control of molecules, including the organic molecules that are the building blocks of life.

The high speed at which protons can travel during chemical reactions means their motion needs to be measured in units of time called ’attoseconds’, with one attosecond equating to one billion-billionth of a second. The team’s observation of proton motion with an accuracy of 100 attoseconds in hydrogen and methane molecules is the fastest ever recorded. Dr John Tisch of Imperial College London says:


"Slicing up a second into intervals as miniscule as 100 attoseconds, as our new technique enables us to do, is extremely hard to conceptualise. It’s like chopping up the 630 million kilometres from here to Jupiter into pieces as wide as a human hair."

Professor Jon Marangos, Director of the Blackett Laboratory Laser Consortium at Imperial, says this new technique means scientists will now be able to measure and control the ultra-fast dynamics of molecules. He says:

"Control of this kind underpins an array of future technologies, such as control of chemical reactions, quantum computing and high brightness x-ray light sources for material processing. We now have a much clearer insight into what is happening within molecules and this allows us to carry out more stringent testing of theories of molecular structure and motion. This is likely to lead to improved methods of molecular synthesis and the nano-fabrication of a new generation of materials."

Lead author Dr Sarah Baker of Imperial College believes that the technique is also exciting because of its experimental simplicity. She says:

"We are very excited by these results, not only because we have ’watched’ motion occurring faster than was previously possible, but because we have achieved this using a compact and simple technique that will make such study accessible to scientists around the world."

To make this breakthrough, scientists used a specially built laser system capable of producing extremely brief pulses of light. This pulsed light has an oscillating electrical field that exerts a powerful force on the electrons surrounding the protons, repeatedly tearing them from the molecule and driving them back into it.

This process causes the electrons to carry a large amount of energy, which they release as an x-ray photon before returning to their original state. How bright this x-ray is depends on how far the protons move in the time between the electrons’ removal and return. The further the proton moves, the lower the intensity of the x-ray, allowing the team to measure how far a proton has moved during the electron oscillation period.

Abigail Smith | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.imperial.ac.uk

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht NASA's fermi finds possible dark matter ties in andromeda galaxy
22.02.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht Tune your radio: galaxies sing while forming stars
21.02.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Positrons as a new tool for lithium ion battery research: Holes in the electrode

22.02.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

New insights into the information processing of motor neurons

22.02.2017 | Life Sciences

Healthy Hiking in Smart Socks

22.02.2017 | Innovative Products

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>