UC Irvine chemists have scored a scientific first: capturing moving images of a single molecule as it vibrates, or "breathes," and shifts from one quantum state to another.
The groundbreaking achievement, led by Ara Apkarian, professor of chemistry, and Eric Potma, associate professor of chemistry, opens a window into the strange realm of quantum mechanics – where nanoscopic bits of matter seemingly defy the logic of classical physics.
This could lead to a wide variety of important applications, including lightning-fast quantum computers and uncrackable encryption of private messages. It also moves researchers a step closer to viewing the molecular world in action – being able to see the making and breaking of bonds, which controls biological processes such as enzymatic reactions and cellular dynamics.
The August issue of Nature Photonics features this breakthrough as its cover story.