Latest in Science

Image credit:

Researchers capture first-ever images of atoms moving inside a molecule

Dana Wollman, @danawollman
March 10, 2012
Share
Tweet
Share

Sponsored Links

The headline sums it up nicely but really, those photographic acrobatics account for only part of the story. Starting from the beginning, a research team led by Louis DiMauro of Ohio State University used an "ultrafast" laser to knock an electron out of its orbit, which scattered off the molecule as it fell back toward its natural path. That ripple effect you see in that photo up there represents any changes the molecule went through during the quadrillionth of a second that transpired between laser pulses. Yes, that's the kind of rare, psychedelic shot that's sure to earn DiMauro and team bragging rights, but the scientists also say this technique could have practical implications for observing -- and ultimately manipulating -- chemical reactions at an atomic level. Of course, it could be a long time yet before scientists analyze complex proteins in such detail: for the purposes of this experiment, the researchers stuck with simple nitrogen and oxygen molecules, with which chemistry scholars are already quite familiar. In fact, the researchers don't elaborate at all on specific studies where this technique might be useful, but you might want to hit up the source link nonetheless for some of the more technical details of how they pulled off this experiment in the first place.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Share
Tweet
Share

Popular on Engadget

Windows XP source code leak sheds light on Microsoft's OS history

Windows XP source code leak sheds light on Microsoft's OS history

View
NASA wants ideas for keeping Moon missions powered in the dark

NASA wants ideas for keeping Moon missions powered in the dark

View
NASA delays its Titan drone mission by another year

NASA delays its Titan drone mission by another year

View
Apple Watch Series 3 owners deal with random reboots in watchOS 7

Apple Watch Series 3 owners deal with random reboots in watchOS 7

View
Xbox Series X first look: Fast, powerful and quiet

Xbox Series X first look: Fast, powerful and quiet

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr