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Proximity and single-molecule energetics

Science

Probing single molecules in their nanoenvironment can reveal site-specific phenomena that would be obscured by ensemble-averaging experiments on macroscopic populations of molecules. Particularly in the past decade, major technological breakthroughs in scanning probe microscopy (SPM) have led to unprecedented spatial resolution and versatility and enabled the interrogation of molecular conformation, bond order, molecular orbitals, charge states, spins, phonons, and intermolecular interactions. On page 452 of this issue, Peng et al. ([ 1 ][1]) use SPM to directly measure the triplet lifetime of an individual pentacene molecule and demonstrate its dependence on interactions with nearby oxygen molecules with atomic precision. In addition to allowing the local tuning and probing of spin-spin interactions between molecules, this study represents a notable advance in the single-molecule regime and provides insights into many macroscopic behaviors and related applications in catalysis, energy-conversion materials, or biological systems. Single-molecule studies have benefited from the high resolution achieved with well-defined functionalized probes, especially with carbon monoxide–terminated atomic force microscopy (AFM) tips ([ 2 ][2]). The versatility and applicability of AFM have also been enhanced by biasing the tip with gate voltages and supporting molecules on insulating substrates. In this configuration, the conductive AFM tip serves as an atomically controlled charge injector with single-charge sensitivity. Such electrical addressing of electronic states of single molecules ([ 3 ][3]) allows for the study of charge distribution and transport in single-molecule devices, organic electronics, and photovoltaics. Beyond steady-state spectroscopy, excited-state dynamics of single molecules can be measured by using an ultrashort and high-intensity electric (voltage) or optical (laser) pulse (the “pump”) to excite the sample. After a nonequilibrium state is generated, a second weaker pulse (the “probe”) monitors the change of the excited state. By varying the time delay between the two pulses, the temporal evolution of the excited state can be mapped out. Peng et al. used the electronic pump-probe approach in AFM to measure the lifetime of the excited triplet state of an individual pentacene molecule with atomic precision (see the figure). They observed strong quenching of the triplet lifetime by co-adsorbed molecular oxygen (O2). The electronic energy-transfer processes had an intriguing dependence on the arrangement of surrounding O2 molecules, which they controlled by atomic manipulation with the tip. Spin-relaxation measurements of single molecules in space with atomic resolution provide insights into their local interactions with each other, as well as with their nanoenvironment. Such information could be useful for spin-based quantum-information storage or quantum computing ([ 4 ][4]). Given the radiative relaxation of excited states, SPM-coupled optical spectroscopy provides a powerful tool to perform spatially and energy-resolved spectroscopic studies of single molecules. Specifically, site-resolved excitations of molecules can be induced by highly localized scanning tunnel microscopy (STM) current, and the resulting luminescence, which carries information that describes excited states, can be probed by integrated optical detection systems. This approach revealed redox state–dependent excitation of single molecules and intermolecular excitonic coupling interactions with atomic-scale spatial precision ([ 5 ][5], [ 6 ][6]). A study of electroluminescence demonstrated selective triplet formation by manipulating electron spin inside a molecule ([ 7 ][7]), which could provide a route to interrogate quantum spintronics and organic electronics at the single-molecule level. Besides tunneling electrons, the interaction of photons with molecules can provide valuable structural information and chemical identification through measurements of absorption, emission, or scattering of light. In particular, by confining laser light at the atomic-scale SPM junction and taking advantage of plasmon-enhanced Raman scattering, tip-enhanced Raman spectroscopy can overcome the diffraction limit of conventional optical spectroscopy and thereby achieve submolecular chemical spatial resolution ([ 8 ][8]). Such capability provides in-depth insights into single-molecule chemistry and site-specific chemical effects at the spatial limit ([ 9 ][9]). ![Figure][10] Atomically addressing excited single molecules The effect of nearby oxygen molecules on the lifetimes (τ) of triplet states T x , T y , and T z or T1 decaying to the singlet state S of individual pentacene molecules has been probed on an insulating salt surface. GRAPHIC: V. ALTOUNIAN/ SCIENCE Most excited states induced by photon absorption are incredibly short-lived (on the order of picoseconds to femtoseconds), so time-resolved optical STM techniques have been developed with ultrafast lasers. For example, pump-probe terahertz laser pulses were used to induce state-selective ultrafast STM tunneling currents through a single molecule. This approach allowed the molecular orbital structure and vibrations to be measured directly on the femtosecond time scale ([ 10 ][11]). Optical STM further showed the capability to explore photon and field-driven tunneling with angstrom-scale spatial resolution and attosecond temporal resolution. This experimental platform can be used to study quasiparticle dynamics in superconductor and two-dimensional materials with exceptional resolutions ([ 11 ][12]). Single-molecule studies could open avenues to access extremely transient states and chemical heterogeneity, suc h as the vibration of atoms within a molecule, the precession of a spin, ultrashort-lived complex reaction intermediates, and some key stochastic processes of reactions in chemistry and biology. For example, the study of Peng et al. relates to the reactivity of electronic excited states of organic molecules to O2 (and thus air). These processes can affect various natural photochemical and photophysical processes undergoing excitation by sunligh that can lead to transformation, degradation, or aging ([ 12 ][13]). The insightful descriptions of molecular conformation, dynamics, and function provided by spatially resolved single-molecule studies could inform complex and emergent behaviors of populations of molecules or even cells. 1. [↵][14]1. J. Peng et al ., Science 373, 452 (2021). [OpenUrl][15][Abstract/FREE Full Text][16] 2. [↵][17]1. L. Gross, 2. F. Mohn, 3. N. Moll, 4. P. Liljeroth, 5. G. Meyer , Science 325, 1110 (2009). [OpenUrl][18][Abstract/FREE Full Text][19] 3. [↵][20]1. S. Fatayer et al ., Nat. Nanotechnol. 13, 376 (2018). [OpenUrl][21][CrossRef][22][PubMed][23] 4. [↵][24]1. M. N. Leuenberger, 2. D. Loss , Nature 410, 789 (2001). [OpenUrl][25][CrossRef][26][PubMed][27] 5. [↵][28]1. Y. Zhang et al ., Nature 531, 623 (2016). [OpenUrl][29][CrossRef][30][PubMed][31] 6. [↵][32]1. B. Doppagne et al ., Science 361, 251 (2018). [OpenUrl][33][Abstract/FREE Full Text][34] 7. [↵][35]1. K. Kimura et al ., Nature 570, 210 (2019). [OpenUrl][36][CrossRef][37][PubMed][38] 8. [↵][39]1. J. Lee, 2. K. T. Crampton, 3. N. Tallarida, 4. V. A. Apkarian , Nature 568, 78 (2019). [OpenUrl][40][CrossRef][41][PubMed][42] 9. [↵][43]1. S. Mahapatra, 2. L. Li, 3. J. F. Schultz, 4. N. Jiang , J. Chem. Phys. 153, 010902 (2020). [OpenUrl][44] 10. [↵][45]1. T. L. Cocker, 2. D. Peller, 3. P. Yu, 4. J. Repp, 5. R. Huber , Nature 539, 263 (2016). [OpenUrl][46][CrossRef][47][PubMed][48] 11. [↵][49]1. M. Garg, 2. K. Kern , Science 367, 411 (2020). [OpenUrl][50][Abstract/FREE Full Text][51] 12. [↵][52]1. P. R. Ogilby , Chem. Soc. Rev. 39, 3181 (2010). [OpenUrl][53][CrossRef][54][PubMed][55] Acknowledgments: We acknowledge support from the National Science Foundation (CHE-1944796). 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IBM and CERN want to use quantum computing to unlock the mysteries of the universe

ZDNet

It is likely that future quantum computers will significantly boost the understanding of CERN's gigantic particle collider. The potential of quantum computers is currently being discussed in settings ranging from banks to merchant ships, and now the technology has been taken even further afield – or rather, lower down. One hundred meters below the Franco-Swiss border sits the world's largest machine, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) operated by the European laboratory for particle physics, CERN. And to better understand the mountains of data produced by such a colossal system, CERN's scientists have been asking IBM's quantum team for some assistance. The partnership has been successful: in a new paper, which is yet to be peer-reviewed, IBM's researchers have established that quantum algorithms can help make sense of the LHC's data, meaning that it is likely that future quantum computers will significantly boost scientific discoveries at CERN. With CERN's mission statement being to understand why anything in the universe happens at all, this could have big implications for anyone interested in all things matter, antimatter, dark matter and so on.


Steam Deck: is it the Nintendo Switch for nerds?

The Guardian

It looks like Valve has done it again. The company that surprised everyone by pivoting from game developer to digital shopkeeper with the launch of Steam, then leapt into virtual reality with the HTC Vive and Valve Index headsets, is now taking on Nintendo with a powerful handheld games console. Announced on 16 July and due to launch in December, the Steam Deck features a 7in LCD touchscreen, an array of analogue and touch-pad controls, a gyroscope for motion detection, wifi connectivity and a base station so it can be hooked up to a monitor. Tech-wise, it's built around a custom Zen 2 AMD processor, AMD RDNA 2 GPU and 16GB of memory. In a recent deep dive on the machine's specs, Eurogamer found it compared to the Xbox Series S console in terms of performance.


Boost your tech career with new electronics, Raspberry Pi, and robotics skills for only $20

ZDNet

You may be surprised to learn that the top tech companies – Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and Facebook – hire just as many programmers who have learned their skills from bootcamps as they do college graduates. So if you've started down the path of a tech career and want to take it to the next level by boosting your electronics, programming, and robotics experience, you can train at your own pace with The 2021 Raspberry Pi & Arduino Bootcamp Bundle for just $19.99. Here are a selection, with prices ranging from around $30 to over $400. You need no experience whatsoever with Raspberry Pi to start with "Raspberry Pi For Beginners: Complete Course". You'll learn how to use Python 3, Flask, GPIOs, and more to build incredible projects.


Valve Steam Deck vs. Nintendo Switch: Which gaming handheld should you buy?

PCWorld

You'll often hear PC enthusiasts--including yours truly--say that the Nintendo Switch is the perfect companion console for your gaming rig, thanks to its handheld mode for on-the-go gaming, deep indie library, and access to Nintendo-exclusive games. The stickiness of that last benefit will soon be put to the test, as Valve's newly announced Steam Deck handheld PC mimes the Switch form factor but revolves around your existing Steam account...and all the games already in it. In the battle of the Steam Deck vs. the Nintendo Switch, who comes out on top? We'll take it to the tape below, but first let's talk about what matters most: the games, and why the Steam Deck and Nintendo Switch might not even be true competitors at all. The $399 Steam Deck and $299 Nintendo Switch have two totally different gaming philosophies.


Quantum Computing Is Coming. What Can It Do?

#artificialintelligence

Quantum technology is approaching the mainstream. Goldman Sachs recently announced that they could introduce quantum algorithms to price financial instruments in as soon as five years. Honeywell anticipates that quantum will form a $1 trillion industry in the decades ahead. But why are firms like Goldman taking this leap -- especially with commercial quantum computers being possibly years away? To understand what's going on, it's useful to take a step back and examine what exactly it is that computers do.


Seizure detection using wearable sensors and machine learning: Setting a benchmark

#artificialintelligence

Epilepsy is a common cause of morbidity and mortality, especially among children, despite advances in management regimens.1, 2 Accurate monitoring and tracking of seizures are important to evaluate seizure burden, recurrence risk, and response to treatment. Outside the hospital, seizure tracking relies on patients' and families' self-reporting, which is often unreliable due to underreporting, seizures missed by caregivers, and patients' difficulties recalling seizures.3-6 Although long-term video-electroencephalography (EEG) in the epilepsy monitoring unit (EMU) is the gold standard for accurately diagnosing and evaluating epilepsy,7 it is also time-consuming and costly, can be perceived as stigmatizing, and places a greater burden on patients and caregivers than seizure monitoring with wearable devices. Based on prior studies, there exists a large clinical gap and urgent medical need to detect a broad range of seizures, beyond focal to bilateral tonic–clonic seizures (FBTCSs) and generalized tonic–clonic seizures (GTCSs), with wearable devices.3, Recent advances in the use and development of non-EEG-based seizure detection devices utilizing a variety of sensors and modalities provided innovative opportunities to fill this gap and to monitor patients continuously in the outpatient setting.


Valve unveils Steam Deck, a portable gaming PC that looks like a Nintendo Switch

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

The company behind the Steam video game marketplace plans to launch a portable gaming PC that looks similar in design to the Nintendo Switch. Valve announced Thursday the Steam Deck, a portable all-in-one PC they say compares to a gaming laptop and can run the latest video games. Along with the ability to play any games available on Steam, users can also install or add any additional software or hardware. The device is slated to launch this December starting at $399. "We think Steam Deck gives people another way to play the games they love on a high-performance device at a great price," said Valve founder Gabe Newell in a statement.


AI as New Electricity?

#artificialintelligence

Till April 2020: GPT-2 was the king of AI, with his stunning 1.5B parameters. It is not easy to deal with it. It takes 6GB on your disk, but that's not the problem. The problem is processing speed: you have to wait several minutes for a single inference running on the CPU. With GPU, it would be at least ten times faster, in a case when you have NVidia GPU with at least 24 GB of Video RAM.


Ring Video Doorbell 4 review: Great for people deep in the Ring ecosystem; just good for everyone else

PCWorld

Ring now offers seven video doorbell models, and as you might have guessed, the company is running out of ways to differentiate them. The Ring Video Doorbell 4 looks virtually identical to the Ring Video Doorbell 3 (and the battery-only Ring Video Doorbell 2, for that matter), and it delivers the same 1080p resolution. Like the model 3, the Ring Video Doorbell 4 can operate on either battery power or your existing doorbell wiring, and both models support dual-band Wi-Fi networks (2.4- and 5GHz). That leaves color pre-roll video previews (more on that in a bit) as the only additional feature you'll get for the extra $20 in cost. As is typical of Ring home-security products, you'll need to sign up for a subscription to unlock all the Ring Video Doorbell 4's capabilities.