Chemistry in motion

A molecule's behavior depends on its environment, that much is known. Now, Andrei Tokmakoff of the University of Chicago and colleagues have extended ultrafast two-dimensional infrared spectroscopy with the spatial resolution of microscopy to map these microscopic environments using the vibrations of molecules. The technique offers data on vibrational dynamics that traditional microscopy lacks, while adding spatial information that infrared spectroscopy alone can't provide. It could be useful in investigating the crucial biochemical process of protein folding in which the chains of amino acids generated by transcription adopt their functional form.