Science Seminars

Ballet Lessons for Small, Lopsided Molecules

Asymmetric top molecules have three dissimilar axes about which rotations can occur. Ordinarily these molecules rotate independently of one another in the gas or liquid phase, all pointing in random directions. By using a strong laser pulse, such "rotors" may be brought into temporary alignment, or even placed into quantum states where their motion remains highly coordinated over time. This talk introduces some of the concepts and techniques involved in making molecules spin in a more organized way. Why is that useful? Watch and see!