Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors
Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Caught in the act: Images capture molecular motions in real time

Researchers imaged subtle motions of a molecule known as N-methyl morpholine when excited by UV light.

CREDIT
Brown University / SLAC
Researchers imaged subtle motions of a molecule known as N-methyl morpholine when excited by UV light. CREDIT Brown University / SLAC

Abstract:
Researchers have used ultra-high-speed x-ray pulses to make a high-resolution "movie" of a molecule undergoing structural motions. The research, published in Nature Chemistry, reveals the dynamics of the processes in unprecedented detail -- capturing the excitation of a single electron in the molecule.

Caught in the act: Images capture molecular motions in real time

Providence, RI | Posted on July 15th, 2019

The ability to see molecular motions in real time offers insights into chemical dynamics processes that were unthinkable just a few decades ago, the researchers say, and may ultimately help in optimizing reactions and designing new types of chemistry.

"For many years, chemists have learned about chemical reactions by essentially studying the molecules present before and after a reaction has occurred," said Brian Stankus, a recent Ph.D. graduate from Brown University and co-lead author on the paper. "It was impossible to actually watch chemistry as it happens because most molecular transformations happen very quickly. But ultrafast light sources like the one we used in this experiment have enabled us to measure molecular motions in real time, and this is the first time these sorts of subtle effects have been seen with such clarity in an organic molecule of this size."

The work is a collaboration between chemists from Brown, scientists at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and theoretical chemists from the University of Edinburgh in the U.K. The team was led by Peter Weber, professor of chemistry at Brown.

For the study, the researchers looked at the molecular motions that occur when the organic molecule N-methyl morpholine is excited by pulses of ultraviolet light. X-ray pulses from SLAC's Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) were used to take snapshots at different stages of the molecule's dynamic response.

"We basically hit the molecules with UV light, which initiates the response, and then fractions of a second later we take a "picture" -- actually we capture a scattering pattern -- with an x-ray pulse," Stankus said. "We repeat this over and over, with different intervals between the UV pulse and x-ray pulse to create a time-series."

The x-rays scatter in particular patterns depending on the structure of molecules. Those patterns are analyzed and used to reconstruct a shape of the molecule as the molecular motions unfold. That pattern analysis was led by Haiwang Yong, a graduate student at Brown and the study's co-lead author.

The experiment revealed an extremely subtle reaction in which only a single electron becomes excited, causing a distinct pattern of molecular vibrations. The researchers were able to image both the electron excitation and the atomic vibration in fine detail.

"This paper is a true milestone because for the first time, we were able to measure in great clarity the structure of a molecule in an excited state and with time resolution," said Weber, the study's corresponding author.

"Making these types of nearly noise free measurements in both energy and time is no small feat," said Mike Minitti, a senior staff scientist at SLAC and study co-author. "Over the past seven years, our collaboration has learned a great deal on how best to use the various LCLS diagnostics to precisely measure the small fluctuations in X-ray intensities, and to an even greater extent, track the femtosecond timescale changes the molecules evolve on. All of this has informed the development of custom data analysis routines that virtually eliminate pesky, unwanted signals to our data. These results demonstrate the fidelity we can achieve."

A particularly interesting aspect of the reaction, the researchers say, is that it's coherent -- meaning when groups of these molecules interact with light, their atoms vibrate in concert with each other.

"If we can use experiments like this one to study how exactly light can be used to direct the collective motion of billions of molecules, we can design systems that can be coherently controlled," Stankus said. "Put simply: If we understand exactly how light directs molecular motions, we can design new systems and control them to do useful chemistry."

###

Other coauthors on the paper were Nikola Zotev, Jennifer Ruddock, Darren Bellshaw, Thomas J. Lane, Mengning Liang, Sébastien Boutet, Sergio 5 Carbajo, Joseph S. Robinson, Wenpeng Du, Nathan Goff, Yu Chang, Jason E. Koglin and Adam Kirrander. The research was supported by U.S. Department of Energy (DE-SC0017995) and the Army Research Office (W911NF-17-1-0256). Use of the LCLS was supported by the Department of Energy (DE-AC02-76SF00515)

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Kevin Stacey

401-863-3766

Copyright © Brown University

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related Links

RELATED JOURNAL ARTICLE:

Related News Press

Imaging

Pinpointing biomolecules with nanometer accuracy October 21st, 2019

Physics: DNA-PAINT super-resolution microscopy at speed: Optimized DNA sequences allow for 10-times faster image acquisition in DNA-PAINT October 11th, 2019

News and information

Pinpointing biomolecules with nanometer accuracy October 21st, 2019

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals Hosts R&D Day on Emerging Pipeline of RNAi Therapeutics October 18th, 2019

How perovskite in solar cells recrystallizes and why modified carbon nanotubes can help overcome the reproducibility problem by making use of this October 18th, 2019

Novel nanoprobes show promise for optical monitoring of neural activity: New approach for studying neural circuits offers advantages over both microelectrodes and fluorescence-based optical techniques that require genetic modifications October 18th, 2019

Chemistry

Do you Kyoto? World-leading companies share their approaches to environmentally friendly business at NAUM’19 October 14th, 2019

Physics: An ultrafast glimpse of the photochemistry of the atmosphere October 11th, 2019

Water + air + electricity = hydrogen peroxide: Rice University breakthrough produces valuable chemical on demand at point of use October 10th, 2019

Laboratories

Scientists couple magnetization to superconductivity for quantum discoveries September 6th, 2019

Rice reactor turns greenhouse gas into pure liquid fuel: Lab's 'green' invention reduces carbon dioxide into valuable fuels September 3rd, 2019

Stanford builds a heat shield just 10 atoms thick to protect electronic devices: Atomically thin heat shields could be up to 50,000 times thinner than current insulating materials in cell phones and laptops August 19th, 2019

Probing the Origin of Alzheimer’s . . . with Transistors: Novel high-sensitivity detector could aid in early diagnosis August 15th, 2019

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Matching Investment Program (MIP) Leverages $140K Empire State Development/NYSTAR Funding to SUNY Poly’s CATN2 to Enable $1.5M in Matching Commitments from Industry Partners: Investment Funds Faculty Research Related to Advanced Materials, Genomics, and Semiconductor Reliability October 18th, 2019

Novel nanoprobes show promise for optical monitoring of neural activity: New approach for studying neural circuits offers advantages over both microelectrodes and fluorescence-based optical techniques that require genetic modifications October 18th, 2019

Highest-throughput 3D printer is future of manufacturing: Rapid manufacturing on-demand could put warehouses, molds into the past October 17th, 2019

Nanoparticles may have bigger impact on the environment than previously thought: Non-antibacterial nanoparticles can cause resistance in bacteria October 17th, 2019

Possible Futures

Pinpointing biomolecules with nanometer accuracy October 21st, 2019

Matching Investment Program (MIP) Leverages $140K Empire State Development/NYSTAR Funding to SUNY Poly’s CATN2 to Enable $1.5M in Matching Commitments from Industry Partners: Investment Funds Faculty Research Related to Advanced Materials, Genomics, and Semiconductor Reliability October 18th, 2019

How perovskite in solar cells recrystallizes and why modified carbon nanotubes can help overcome the reproducibility problem by making use of this October 18th, 2019

Novel nanoprobes show promise for optical monitoring of neural activity: New approach for studying neural circuits offers advantages over both microelectrodes and fluorescence-based optical techniques that require genetic modifications October 18th, 2019

Discoveries

Pinpointing biomolecules with nanometer accuracy October 21st, 2019

How perovskite in solar cells recrystallizes and why modified carbon nanotubes can help overcome the reproducibility problem by making use of this October 18th, 2019

Novel nanoprobes show promise for optical monitoring of neural activity: New approach for studying neural circuits offers advantages over both microelectrodes and fluorescence-based optical techniques that require genetic modifications October 18th, 2019

Highest-throughput 3D printer is future of manufacturing: Rapid manufacturing on-demand could put warehouses, molds into the past October 17th, 2019

Announcements

Pinpointing biomolecules with nanometer accuracy October 21st, 2019

Matching Investment Program (MIP) Leverages $140K Empire State Development/NYSTAR Funding to SUNY Poly’s CATN2 to Enable $1.5M in Matching Commitments from Industry Partners: Investment Funds Faculty Research Related to Advanced Materials, Genomics, and Semiconductor Reliability October 18th, 2019

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals Hosts R&D Day on Emerging Pipeline of RNAi Therapeutics October 18th, 2019

How perovskite in solar cells recrystallizes and why modified carbon nanotubes can help overcome the reproducibility problem by making use of this October 18th, 2019

Interviews/Book Reviews/Essays/Reports/Podcasts/Journals/White papers

Pinpointing biomolecules with nanometer accuracy October 21st, 2019

How perovskite in solar cells recrystallizes and why modified carbon nanotubes can help overcome the reproducibility problem by making use of this October 18th, 2019

Novel nanoprobes show promise for optical monitoring of neural activity: New approach for studying neural circuits offers advantages over both microelectrodes and fluorescence-based optical techniques that require genetic modifications October 18th, 2019

Nanoparticles may have bigger impact on the environment than previously thought: Non-antibacterial nanoparticles can cause resistance in bacteria October 17th, 2019

Tools

Pinpointing biomolecules with nanometer accuracy October 21st, 2019

Novel nanoprobes show promise for optical monitoring of neural activity: New approach for studying neural circuits offers advantages over both microelectrodes and fluorescence-based optical techniques that require genetic modifications October 18th, 2019

Combination of Nanometrics and Rudolph Technologies to Create Onto Innovation October 16th, 2019

Physics: DNA-PAINT super-resolution microscopy at speed: Optimized DNA sequences allow for 10-times faster image acquisition in DNA-PAINT October 11th, 2019

Military

Highest-throughput 3D printer is future of manufacturing: Rapid manufacturing on-demand could put warehouses, molds into the past October 17th, 2019

CCNY physicists score double hit in LED research September 27th, 2019

A chameleon-inspired smart skin changes color in the sun September 11th, 2019

Hard as a diamond? Scientists predict new forms of superhard carbon: A study identifies dozens of new carbon structures that are expected to be superhard, including some that may be about as hard as diamonds September 9th, 2019

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project