Imprisoned Molecules ‘Quantum Rattle’ in Their Cages

Imprisoned Molecules ‘Quantum Rattle’ in Their Cages

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Scientists have discovered that a space inside a special type of carbon molecule can be used to imprison other smaller molecules such as hydrogen or water. The nano-metre sized cavity of the hollow spherical C60 Buckminsterfullerene — or bucky ball — effectively creates a ‘nanolaboratory’, allowing detailed study of the quantum mechanical principles that determine the motion of the caged molecule, including the mysterious wave-like behaviour that is a fundamental property of all matter.

Experiments by the international collaboration of researchers, including physicists from The University of Nottingham, have revealed the wave-like behaviour and show how the imprisoned H2 and H2O molecules ‘quantum rattle’ in their cage.

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