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Molecules Manipulated with Lasers 66

Posted by timothy
from the do-the-pokey-pokey dept.
eldavojohn writes "Scientists have been busy in Ottawa using lasers to manipulate chemical reactions. While this may not seem like an impressive feat, the implications this has for quantum mechanics is quite large. From the article, "According to Albert Stolow, the NRC team leader, the tool used to alter molecular landscapes has implications beyond the control of chemical reactions. One example already mentioned is in the area of quantum information either to directly encode molecular scale information or to control molecular scale switches. Another application is in developing novel forms of optical microscopy of live cells, where quantum control methods can be used to sharpen images, enhance sensitivity and perhaps even perform molecular scale surgery on individual cells. The electric interaction underlying the NRC technique is an essential tool on the quantum mechanic's workbench. Its application to science and technology could reach deep into the quantum world of the ultrasmall." The article in science was where I caught this initially though it doesn't seem to be free anywhere online. The final words of the summary are "suggesting broad applicability" but only time will tell how far our imaginations will use this research."
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Molecules Manipulated with Lasers

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  • lasers (Score:5, Funny)

    by freewaybear (906222) on Sunday October 15, 2006 @07:29PM (#16447297)
    That's nothing. I've been using lasers to manipulate my cats for years, and they're a lot bigger than molecules.
  • Spelling? (Score:5, Informative)

    by AikonMGB (1013995) on Sunday October 15, 2006 @07:29PM (#16447299) Homepage
    I know us Canucks like to change all kinds of words like "colour" and "favour", but for the love of Pete, it's spelt "Ottawa"... = / -Aikon
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by CRCulver (715279)
      How is "colour" and "flavour" changing anything? That's the original English spelling. It was only after 1776 that American orthographical reforms departed from tradition.
      • by AikonMGB (1013995)

        My apologies, "change" wasn't the correct word; I wasn't focusing too hard on that part since the point of my post was to bring attention to the mispelling of our nation's capital.


      • Actually, before Webster's dictionary, everybody spelled everything however the hell they wanted. It was only after Webster, and later Oxford, came into play that we got this.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by CRCulver (715279)
          That's not the case. For one, by 1700, English spelling had ceased to be as individual as in the previous two centuries. Also, even in a time of seemingly arbitrary spelling, there were still clear preferences among the public, and "-our" was (wait for it) favoured.
        • by wrenkin (71468)
          There were other dictionaries [] you know...
      • While we're talking about who changed what, the original words in Latin were spelled "honor", "color", "favor", etc. It's the English who corrupted them and the Americans who restored them to their original, proper spellings. /language snobism
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by CRCulver (715279)
          No. In Old French, the Latin ending "-or" became "-our". This spread into Middle English when the French language became houte coutre after the Norman Conquest. English knew only "-our" before the American spelling reform.
          • by Lissajous (989738)
            Heh - I take it you mean it became "haute couture" after the Norman Conquest?

            Oh, and I for one may or not have welcomed our Norman overlords.
  • Speling (Score:3, Informative)

    by brasspen (899025) on Sunday October 15, 2006 @07:29PM (#16447305)
    I think that's Ottawa. As in Canada's capital. There is no "o".
  • cool (Score:5, Funny)

    by macadamia_harold (947445) on Sunday October 15, 2006 @07:29PM (#16447307) Homepage
    That's really cool, but my first question is, how'd they get the sharks to sit still so they could finish the tests?
  • You mean we can write "IBM" even smaller now?

    Granted, it's an amazing feat, but when can we start manipulating particles like electrons? I want to force a neutron into hydrogen and get deuterium without all that concentrating. When we get that kind of science down to a manufacturing technology, that's when the real fun begins!
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by kfg (145172)
      I want to force a neutron into hydrogen and get deuterium without all that concentrating.

      I don't care how hard you have to concentrate, if you can do that under controled conditions there's a million bucks in it for you.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by LiquidCoooled (634315)
        Given enough curry a man can produce all the gases you care to examine.

        I cannot guarantee they will be what you are looking for, but until you check you will never know.
    • by JSchoeck (969798)
      What you are referring to, I guess, is that IBM spelled "IBM" with single atoms in 1989 using a tunneling microscope.

      Doing this with molecules would increase the size of what you write, not make it smaller. Why? Molecules are made up from two to very many (100000 easily) atoms.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 15, 2006 @07:37PM (#16447367)
    I know Ottawa is the capital of Canada, but where is Ottowa? I think I remember reading somewhere that it is in the small country of Canoda, which is just north of Omerica. I went to the capital of Omerica once. A beautiful city named Woshington.
  • And I thought it took a lot of my time to go to the doctor before. Repairing individual cells, now thats got to take a while.
    • by LuNa7ic (991615) on Monday October 16, 2006 @02:42AM (#16449825)
      For that reason, this will be unlikely to have a large impact on corrective surgery, however this could make genetic manipulation a lot easier on zygote. If base-pairs between DNA strands could be manipulated individually and precisely, controlled genetic mutation could become feasible in the future.
  • New Batteries? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Salvance (1014001) on Sunday October 15, 2006 @07:46PM (#16447445) Homepage Journal
    I'm rather surprised they didn't mention the impact to battery design. If batteries could be designed at the atomic and molecular level, I imagine you could greatly improve their life.
    • by kfg (145172)
      If batteries could be designed at the atomic and molecular level, I imagine you could greatly improve their life.

      They already are; as are fuel cells. The final frontier is making them at the molecular level to power molecular sized machines, so I wouldn't go expecting better battery life from your Nano until it really is.

      And I wanna see how Apple handles the interface to that.

  • Cool! Laser beams! Ra ta ta ta ta!
    • This article involves lasers. The proper obligatory quote in this situation involves sharks with frikken "lasers" on their heads.

      So first the sharks "manipulate" his molecules, then use the lasers just to be sure?
      • So first the sharks "manipulate" his molecules, then use the lasers just to be sure?

        But how do you get the sharks in orbit first for the bombardment?

  • by Slur (61510) on Sunday October 15, 2006 @09:09PM (#16448035) Homepage Journal
    Take my quantum workbench. One minute my quantum spanner is there, then it's not there, then it's a superposition of there/not-there. And although my quantum computer has only 27 Qbits, all past and future quantum computers are already networking with it, and I get something like Aleph-One SPAM emails per day.
    • That's neat. Given that the bulk of your spam will be coming from future quantum computing machines ... can you tell us what products are being used to treat erectile dysfunction, say, a hundred years from now?
  • If this doesn't lead to lightsaber/laser-sword develpment,or a super death ray then it's just not interesting. Lasers are so '60s sci-fi, anti-terrorist weapons are what's "in" right now
    • A light sword would be fairly useless, except perhaps as a construction tool, unless it comes with the correponding Force powers to deflect bullets.

      And that's a whole can of worms you don't wanna open. Witness this tragedy:

      "You don't want to be in this country."

      "I don't want to be in this country."

      "These aren't the terrorists you're looking for."

      "These aren't the tairrists ah'm lookin' fer."

      "You won't find nuclear WMDs here."

      "I won't find nucyoolar WMDs here."
  • Free Online (Score:4, Informative)

    by Soko (17987) on Monday October 16, 2006 @01:48AM (#16449623) Homepage
    The article in science was where I caught this initially though it doesn't seem to be free anywhere online.

    Google News has a few. []

  • by Mr2001 (90979) on Monday October 16, 2006 @04:25AM (#16450191) Homepage Journal
    Seriously, every story about lasers gets tagged "sharks". Austin Powers came out in 1997, so that tag was barely even funny the first time. It's time to move on.
    • > so that tag was barely even funny the first time. It's time to move on.

      You've obviously never heard my 14 year old son do a flawless impersonation of the entire "sharks with friggin' laser beams!" routine, complete with "Remind me what I pay you people for. Honestly (slap desk) Throw me a bone here."

      "I've got a whole bag of 'shhhhh' with your name on it."

      And of course:

      "Very well, where do I begin? My father was a relentlessly self-improving boulangerie owner from Belgium with low-grade narcolepsy and
  • Personally, the only way this can impact me is if they can somehow use this to make a car smaller then this..." 20_nanocar.html"

Thrashing is just virtual crashing.