Excitons’ motions captured in images

When plants make food, they absorb energy from light. Excitons move that energy to places in plants where it can be stored in its chemical form. Observing excitons in motion may help scientists better understand the process of photosynthesis.

Derek Tam/FLICKR (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Quasiparticles called excitons transfer energy through materials such as solar cells, LEDs, semiconductor circuits and even plant cells. Now, that motion has been observed and captured in images, researchers report April 16 in Nature Communications. The observations could lead to advances in electronics and improve scientists’ understanding of photosynthesis.

Ashley Yeager is the associate news editor at Science News. She has worked at The Scientist, the Simons Foundation, Duke University and the W.M. Keck Observatory, and was the web producer for Science News from 2013 to 2015. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and a master’s degree in science writing from MIT.

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