Japanese researchers have been able to manipulate networks of molecules from a beam that they developed, which has potential for application in chemical and pharmaceutical industries.

Kyoto University researchers used intense terahertz pulses to increase the amplitude of movement between amino-acid molecules in crystalline form, making it softer.What we have demonstrated is that it is possible to use intense terahertz pulses to climb 20 ladder steps on the anharmonic intermolecular potential in the microcrystals," said Dr. Masaya Nagai, an assistant professor at Kyoto University's Department of Physics and a coauthor of the paper. "This opens the door," he continues, "to the possibility of manipulating large molecules, thereby increasing understanding of the properties of molecular complexes such as proteins."

The research is being published in Physical Review Letters. Terahertz waves can pass through many materials but is non-ionizing, useful in the imaging field.