To gain even deeper insights into the smallest of worlds, the thresholds of microscopy must be expanded further. Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) and the TU Dresden, in cooperation with the Freie Universität Berlin, have succeeded in combining two established me ... more
Video reveals wave character of particlesWave properties of individual heavy molecules can also be observed experimentally
Every individual molecule fluoresces and becomes part of the interference pattern. Figures a through e show the states after 0, 2, 20, 40 and 90 minutes, respectively.
Quantum theory describes the world of atoms very precisely. Still, it defies our macroscopic conception of everyday's world due to its many anti-intuitive predictions. The wave-particle dualism probably is the best known example and means that matter may spread and interfere like waves. Now, an international team of researchers has recorded the interference process of individual molecules. The recordings were published by the journal Nature Nanotechnology online.
"Seeing how the interference pattern develops with every light spot, molecule after molecule, and how a basic principle of quantum mechanics is visualized enhances our understanding of the atomic world," explains Professor Marcel Mayor, who conducts research and teaches at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and the University of Basel.
For the experiment performed in cooperation with colleagues from the universities of Vienna and Tel Aviv, Mayor synthesized fluorescent phtalocyanin molecules having an atomic mass of up to 1298 AMU and consisting of up to 114 atoms. Then, the molecules were accelerated, sent as a slow beam through an optical grating, and deposited on the entrance vacuum window, where they were excited to fluoresce by a laser. For a period of 90 minutes, a fluorescence microscope observed the build-up of the interference pattern. Its setup has a sufficient sensitivity to exactly locate every individual molecule on the window with a precision of about 10 nanometers.
In the future, the setup might be used to study the so-called van-der-Waals interaction between molecules in the beam and those in the grating, which is reflected rather sensitively by the interference pattern. Researchers are also interested in finding out from which size and under which conditions particles behave quantum mechanically or classically, i.e. in the so-called decoherence. These findings may be the basis for novel applications, such as quantum computers. "But the many insights given by this experiment into the quantum world and its boundaries already are of high value," Mayor agrees with many experts, among others Bum Suk Zhao and Wieland Schöllkopf from the Fritz Haber Institute, Berlin, who evaluate the experiment in the accompanying comment article in the same journal.
- Universität Basel
- Universität Wien
- Tel Aviv University
A unique colour X-ray camera goes into operation at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) today. With this camera, it will be possible for the researchers at the Helmholtz Institute Freiberg for Resource Technology (HIF), a part of the HZDR, to determine within a very short period ... more
While residual medications don’t belong in the water, trace metals from industrial process waters handled by the recycling industry are, in contrast, valuable resources. Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have developed a simple color sensor principle which facili ... more
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a phenomenon similar to an effect observed in circular galleries, such as in some cathedrals or museums, where sound waves travel across t ... more
Optical microscopy is applied widely in the life sciences sector. Among others, it is used to minimally invasively examine living cells. Resolution of conventional light microscopy, however, is limited to half the wavelength of light, i.e. about 200 nm, such that finest cellular structures ... more
Scientists using computational techniques to look at processes in DNA have employed a surface-hopping approach to predict the degree of charge localisation across nucleobases. The technique should allow more accurate modeling of the effects of charge transfer within the molecule. Different ... more
Researchers from the University of Basel in Switzerland have identified a key regulator gene for the formation of cardiac valves - a process crucial to normal embryonic heart development. The heart is the first functional organ that develops in vertebrate embryos. In humans, it starts to be ... more
For the first time, scientists have succeeded in studying the strength of hydrogen bonds in a single molecule using an atomic force microscope. Hydrogen is the most common element in the universe and is an integral part of almost all organic compounds. Molecules and sections of macromolecul ... more
The bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a life-threatening pathogen in hospitals. About ten percent of all nosocomial infections, in particular pneumonia, are caused by this pathogen. Researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum, have now discovered that calcium induces the switch ... more
Zooming into a nuclear pore complex using a high-speed atomic force microscope reveals the selectivity barrier that filters the traffic of molecules passing between the cytoplasm and nucleus in eukaryotic cells. This is comprised of intrinsically disordered proteins known as FG Nucleoporins ... more
- 1Mechanism involved in novel drug design with potential to treat tuberculosis
- 2Nanoscale virus features reconstructed from correlations of scattered X-rays
- 3Eurofins acquires food testing laboratory Institut Nehring
- 4New antibiotic resistance genes found
- 5Neutrons observe vitamin B6-dependent enzyme activity useful for drug development
- 6A detailed look at 2-D structure of turbulence in tokamaks
- 7Integrated lab-on-a-chip uses smartphone to quickly detect multiple pathogens
- 8Explaining how UV rays trigger skin cancer
- 9How rough microparticles can cause big problems
- 10Initiative taps scientists to create atlas of cells in human spinal cord
- Integrated lab-on-a-chip uses smartphone to quickly detect multiple pathogens
- Explaining how UV rays trigger skin cancer
- Neutrons observe vitamin B6-dependent enzyme activity useful for drug develo ...
- Initiative taps scientists to create atlas of cells in human spinal cord
- Proteins may prevent dysfunction and disease by relaxing