one for the Physicists


Quantum interference of large organic molecules

OK, massive oversimplification … particles can act as waves yadda yadda (see Matter Wave, Louis de Broglie and especially Double slit experiment).

The fact that, at the quantum level (the *very* small), particles act as waves is a fundamental lynchpin to quantum physics.

De Broglie’s theories of a hundred years ago have been demonstrated with particles such as electrons up to small, uncomplicated molecules.

A recent experiment proves quantum behaviour in molecules of up to 430 atoms which is kind of a “big deal”. I can’t hope to explain this as well as the scientists involved so head on over to nature.com when you’re done here.

One thing to note though is that Gerlich’s team use a molecule of Carbon with 60 atoms as a reference point.

This C60 molecule has the rather fantastic name of Buckminsterfullerene named after, er …, Buckminster Fuller the guy we may know best for coming up with the geodesic dome we know at Disney’s Epcot and the UKs Eden Project.

Comparing a diagram of the molecule to those structures you can see why the Nobel winning creators of C60 decided to honour “Bucky” this way:

Gerlich, S. et al. Quantum interference of large organic molecules. Nat. Commun. 2:263 doi: 10.1038/ncomms1263 (2011)

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About jon.d.carroll

Father, husband, would-be physicist and occasional entrepreneur. Science, computing, finance, business and issues around hearing loss float my boat View all posts by jon.d.carroll

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