First imaged the motion of atoms in a molecule


10/03/2012

It was first obtained image vibration two atoms in the molecule with new ultrafast camera. The team from Ohio State University and Kansas have used ultrafast laser pulses to knock an electron out of its orbit in a molecule. After a short time, the electron back to molecule. The electron energy of the molecule acted like a "flash bulb", which covered the motion of the molecule.

This is the first step on the way to the direct observation of chemical reactions and control them at the atomic level, as told supervisor Louis Dimauro, professor of physics at Ohio.

"Through these experiments, we realized that we can control the quantum trajectory of the electron when it comes back to the molecule by adjusting the laser that launches it," - said Dimauro. "The next step will be to attempt to direct the electron on a trajectory that will provide control of the chemical reaction."

In the experiment, molecular nitrogen (N2). Ultra-fast laser threw out an electron from the molecule and recorded the diffraction pattern that forms at the same time. In the image depicted the changes of the molecule, which occurred during the time between laser pulses: one quadrillion seconds.

The researchers compared the signal from the scattered electron, with diffraction pattern which is formed when an electron passes through the slit. From the diffraction pattern, scientists can reconstruct the size and shape of the slits. In this case, diffracted electron physics recreated size and shape of the molecule, namely, the location of the nucleus.

The meaning of the experiment was the fact that in a short period of time until the electron ejected from the molecule and have not had time to come back, the atoms in the molecules have time to shift. Scientists have been able to photograph the movement. "It’s like a movie about the creation of the quantum world," - said Cosmin Blaga.

In addition to the potential for the control of chemical reactions, this method provides new tools for studying the structure and dynamics of matter. Ultimately, scientists want to understand how the chemical reactions occur. In the long term, the application of this discovery in materials science and chemical manufacturing.

"You can use it to study individual atoms," - said Dimauro. "But a more powerful impetus to the development of our understanding will come when we learn to study reactions between more complex molecules. We have a long way from the study of two atoms to a molecule of interest, such as a protein."

The study was published in the journal Nature.

Original: Photonics com


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