A new way to observe decoherence in polyatomic molecules
Studying the dynamics of polyatomic molecules, Branco Weiss Fellow Nikolay Golubev and his team at EPFL’s Laboratory of Theoretical Physical Chemistry (LCPT) have developed a method for quickly spotting molecules with particularly interesting electron properties. Their findings were recently published in Physical Review Letters.
In isolated atoms, the oscillations of electron density are regular, but in most polyatomic molecules, the oscillations quickly become damped. This process is known as decoherence. However, in some molecules the oscillations last longer before decoherence sets in. The EPFL researchers developed a method which captures the physical mechanism behind decoherence, which consequently enables them to identify molecules with long-lasting coherences. Their method could prove interesting in the development of new electron-based technology or studying quantum effects in biomolecules. Backed with a better understanding of the decoherence process, scientists could one day be able to observe exactly how molecules act in biological tissue, for example, or create new kinds of electronic circuits.
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