### Abstract

The first-order rate constant in a unimolecular reaction is a measure of the probability that the reaction will occur per unit time, measured in an interval that is small enough so that this probability is small. It is impossible to predict the exact time at which a particular molecule will react; because of the random nature of the process, we can just calculate probabilities. Because the probability of survival for each individual molecule decreases exponentially with time as e^{-kt}, the rate constant of the process can be calculated from the experimental determination of a large number of survival times. This is now possible for certain reactions thanks to the development of single-molecule techniques, in which individual molecules are observed in real time one-by-one in equilibrium conditions.

Original language | English (US) |
---|---|

Pages (from-to) | 162-166 |

Number of pages | 5 |

Journal | Journal of Chemical Education |

Volume | 88 |

Issue number | 2 |

DOIs | |

State | Published - Jan 11 2011 |

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### ASJC Scopus subject areas

- Chemistry(all)
- Education

### Cite this

**Chemical kinetics at the single-molecule level.** / Levitus, Marcia.

Research output: Contribution to journal › Article

*Journal of Chemical Education*, vol. 88, no. 2, pp. 162-166. https://doi.org/10.1021/ed100371m

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Chemical kinetics at the single-molecule level

AU - Levitus, Marcia

PY - 2011/1/11

Y1 - 2011/1/11

N2 - The first-order rate constant in a unimolecular reaction is a measure of the probability that the reaction will occur per unit time, measured in an interval that is small enough so that this probability is small. It is impossible to predict the exact time at which a particular molecule will react; because of the random nature of the process, we can just calculate probabilities. Because the probability of survival for each individual molecule decreases exponentially with time as e-kt, the rate constant of the process can be calculated from the experimental determination of a large number of survival times. This is now possible for certain reactions thanks to the development of single-molecule techniques, in which individual molecules are observed in real time one-by-one in equilibrium conditions.

AB - The first-order rate constant in a unimolecular reaction is a measure of the probability that the reaction will occur per unit time, measured in an interval that is small enough so that this probability is small. It is impossible to predict the exact time at which a particular molecule will react; because of the random nature of the process, we can just calculate probabilities. Because the probability of survival for each individual molecule decreases exponentially with time as e-kt, the rate constant of the process can be calculated from the experimental determination of a large number of survival times. This is now possible for certain reactions thanks to the development of single-molecule techniques, in which individual molecules are observed in real time one-by-one in equilibrium conditions.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=78651384043&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=78651384043&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1021/ed100371m

DO - 10.1021/ed100371m

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:78651384043

VL - 88

SP - 162

EP - 166

JO - Journal of Chemical Education

JF - Journal of Chemical Education

SN - 0021-9584

IS - 2

ER -