Laser Reveals the Hidden Lives of Biomolecules

December 05, 2012

All around and inside us, an elab­o­rate dance of mol­e­c­ular vibra­tions is con­stantly taking place. From the water in your glass to the fluid sur­rounding your blood cells, mol­e­cules exchange energy with their envi­ron­ment. Large mol­e­cules, such as the heme group of hemo­globin, can respond with waving, sad­dling or ruf­fling motions, said Paul Cham­pion, pro­fessor and chair of the Depart­ment of Physics. These motions, which can also be excited with a fem­tosecond laser pulse into so-​​called “non-​​stationary coherent states,” are the dar­lings of his research.

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