Reaction Kinetics – A team of scientists at Harvard university have built an apparatus which can achieve ultra cold temperatures. This allows them to capture reaction mechanisms previously elusive as they occur too quickly.
“Now, they not only performed the coldest reaction yet, they discovered their new apparatus can do something even they did not predict. In such intense cold — 500 nanokelvin or just a few millionths of a degree above absolute zero — their molecules slowed to such glacial speeds, Ni and her team could see something no one has been able to see before: the moment when two molecules meet to form two new molecules.”
Wow! Scientists are able to actually replicate such low temperatures in their labs! Nano is 10^-9 times, that’s like 0.000000005 K.
With such low temperatures, the kinetic energy in the molecules will be so low they will literally be “crawling”. Imagine Maxwell Boltzmann distribution with just one thin line near zero Kelvin.
This will enable scientists to capture images of what actually happens in the transition state. Previously, the transition state cannot be captured. With this new breakthrough, we will be able to validate or disprove the transition state theory. Exciting times! 🙂
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