The interaction of thermal energy from the environment with motional degrees of freedom is well known and often referred to as Brownian motion (also thermal motion). But in the case of polar molecules, the internal degrees of freedom -- in particular the rotational quantum state -- are also influenced by the thermal radiation. So far, the detection of the rotational state was only possible by destroying the molecule. Now, report scientists, the quantum state of a molecular ion has been measured live and in a non-destructive fashion for the first time.
from Geochemistry News -- ScienceDaily http://ift.tt/1Var6j3