One of the problems in studying the world of atoms and molecules is its super-rapid variability, which is very difficult to capture. Nevertheless, researchers at the University of Tokyo filmed a slow-motion video of the movement of individual molecules at 1600 frames per second.
Usually, when it comes to viewing tiny objects, camera resolution means “spatial resolution, ” that is, how many visual pixels a device can capture. After all, the more pixels, the clearer the image. But the "temporary permission" is just as important. Individual frames can be thought of as pixels in time, so the more there are in the video, the clearer the motion becomes.
The survey was carried out using a transmission electron microscope, which provides high spatial resolution. In previous studies, events were recorded at the atomic level with a speed of 16 fps, which is clearly not enough to get a true picture of the phenomenon. The new study used a direct-detection camera that shot 100 times faster - 1600 fps.
In the captured video, we see interacting molecules of fullerenes, each of which consists of 60 carbon atoms, forming a structure in the shape of a soccer ball. You can also see how these vibrating balls randomly oscillate inside the nanotube, although the picture may look static to the naked eye.
Of course, this method is useful for observing phenomena at the atomic level. However, the problem is the ability to process information only after shooting a video. It remains to be hoped that progress in the development of computer technology will help to record such processes in real time in the near future.