Molecules stop tumbling with hit of laser light

Cooling aluminum monohydride molecules in a fraction of a second makes them stop rotating. The molecules went from room temperature to 4 degrees Kelvin (−269 degrees Celsius) with a quick hit of customized laser light. The laser gives scientists precise control of the tumbling motion, which could make the molecules more useful in quantum computing, researchers report Sept. 2 in Nature Communications.

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.

More Stories from Science News on Quantum Physics