Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Researchers make molecules "pose" for photograph

For anyone who has ever had trouble getting children to stand still for family photographs, consider the frustration of scientists who have always wanted to photograph isolated gas phase molecules, but they just wouldn’t hold still long enough.

The rapid tumbling motions of gas phase molecules, such as those in the air around us, means that at any instant in time, the molecules are pointing in many different directions, and this blurs any image that may be recorded. Now, using a pair of carefully crafted femtosecond laser pulses, a team of researchers at The Open University and the National Research Council of Canada have forced molecules to line up in the same direction to "pose" for a photograph.

When combined with the ultra-fast shutter speeds such as those provided by ultrashort pulses of X-ray light produced at some of the world’s largest facilities, such as the European X-Ray Laser Project XFEL near Hamburg, which is being built to meet just this goal, this technique will allow for sharp images of isolated molecules to be recorded.

This new research “Field-free three-dimensional alignment of polyatomic molecules” is to be published in Physical Review Letters on November 3 2006.

Co-author Dr Jonathan Underwood of The Open University’s Department of Physics and Astronomy says: “This new technique means another of the barriers to understanding the science of our world has been lowered.

This technique will allow us to take photographs in the very near future from which we’ll be able to map the atomic details of molecules as they re-arrange and undergo chemical processes.”

Louis De La Foret | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Physicists made crystal lattice from polaritons
20.03.2018 | ITMO University

nachricht Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions
20.03.2018 | University of California - Berkeley

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: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

Im Focus: Tiny implants for cells are functional in vivo

For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.

In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Physicists made crystal lattice from polaritons

20.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

20.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Thawing permafrost produces more methane than expected

20.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>