Washington: A new research has revealed about the first time capturing of extremely rapid "motions of single molecule in real time."
The researchers at University of California, Irvine opened a window into the strange realm of quantum mechanics, where nanoscopic bits of matter seemingly defy the logic of classical physics.
The moving images of a single molecule as it vibrates, or "breathes," and shifts from one quantum state to another could lead to a wide variety of important applications, including lightning-fast quantum computers and un-crackable 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.
In addition to using precisely tuned, ultrafast lasers and microscopes, the researchers had to equip the molecule with a tiny antenna consisting of two gold nanospheres in order to track its activity and record measurements over the course of an hour.
When the many repeated measurements were averaged, an astonishing finding emerged that the molecule was oscillating from one quantum state to another.
Co-author Ara Apkarian said that a movie, in which a small, glowing dot appears to emit pulses of bright light, is the light broadcast from the antenna every time the molecule completes a cycle of its vibrational motion.
The study is published in the August issue of Nature Photonics.