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General Chat Thread, Help, I need a physicist in General; To explain why they are so excited about this - BBC NEWS | Science & Environment | World first for ...
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    CHR1S's Avatar
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    Help, I need a physicist

    To explain why they are so excited about this - BBC NEWS | Science & Environment | World first for strange molecule

    Whats so special about making this molecule?

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    somabc's Avatar
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    This molecule is extremely large -100nm

    An atom which possesses one valence electron orbiting about an atomic nucleus within an electron shell well outside all the other electrons in the atom. Such an atom approximates the hydrogen atom in that a single electron is interacting with a positively charged core. Early observations of atomic electrons in such Rydberg quantum states involved studies of the Rydberg series in optical spectra. Electrons jumping between Rydberg states with adjacent principal quantum numbers, n and n - 1, with n near 80 produce microwave radiation.

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    powdarrmonkey's Avatar
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    I think the first few paragraphs were quite clear:

    Known as a Rydberg molecule, it is formed through an elusive and extremely weak chemical bond between two atoms.

    It reinforces fundamental quantum theories, developed by Nobel prize-winning physicist Enrico Fermi, about how electrons behave and interact.
    (cue vast excitement by physicists the world over)

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    Quote Originally Posted by somabc View Post
    An atom which possesses one valence electron orbiting about an atomic nucleus within an electron shell well outside all the other electrons in the atom. Such an atom approximates the hydrogen atom in that a single electron is interacting with a positively charged core. Early observations of atomic electrons in such Rydberg quantum states involved studies of the Rydberg series in optical spectra. Electrons jumping between Rydberg states with adjacent principal quantum numbers, n and n - 1, with n near 80 produce microwave radiation.
    Unlike this paragraph

    @somabc: any chance you want to try that again, in English this time !?!

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    Yeap, it provides more evidence to support the current models of the way atoms work and also shows another way of making atoms interact which may be useful in other stuff as well.

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    powdarrmonkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SYNACK View Post
    Yeap, it provides more evidence to support the current models of the way atoms work and also shows another way of making atoms interact which may be useful in other stuff as well.
    One of the current models.

    Quote Originally Posted by somabc View Post
    An atom which possesses one valence electron orbiting about an atomic nucleus within an electron shell well outside all the other electrons in the atom. Such an atom approximates the hydrogen atom in that a single electron is interacting with a positively charged core. Early observations of atomic electrons in such Rydberg quantum states involved studies of the Rydberg series in optical spectra. Electrons jumping between Rydberg states with adjacent principal quantum numbers, n and n - 1, with n near 80 produce microwave radiation.
    I smell Wikipedia (or perhaps answers.com).

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    SYNACK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by powdarrmonkey View Post
    One of the current models.
    Well yes, but short of someone coming up with a unifying theory any time soon we still need to use the model that is best to explain the specific situation, in this case atomic scale interaction in a super coloed environment.

    The above stuff from somabc just means that other atoms will interact with the Rydberg state (really distant) electron like it is an individual hydrogen atom fixed in an orbit of the larger underlying atom. It also appears that as the Rydberg state (height of orbit) rises or falls that it realeases microwave radiation. This is simmilar to what happens inside a laser where electron states are used to generate a single wavelength of light.

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    somabc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by powdarrmonkey View Post
    I smell Wikipedia (or perhaps answers.com).
    How dare you suggest I am not using my Chemistry degree! This is an outrage!

    Although you are quite right!
    Rydberg molecule definition of Rydberg molecule in the Free Online Encyclopedia.
    Last edited by somabc; 23rd April 2009 at 03:56 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jinnantonnix View Post
    OMG! If this is true, then it means.... er....
    It means that supporters of the quantum model are one step closer to proving their theory that light behaves like a particle.

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    somabc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SYNACK View Post
    Well yes, but short of someone coming up with a unifying theory any time soon we still need to use the model that is best to explain the specific situation, in this case atomic scale interaction in a super cooled environment.

    The above stuff from somabc just means that other atoms will interact with the Rydberg state (really distant) electron like it is an individual hydrogen atom fixed in an orbit of the larger underlying atom. It also appears that as the Rydberg state (height of orbit) rises or falls that it realeases microwave radiation. This is similar to what happens inside a laser where electron states are used to generate a single wavelength of light.
    Just! Thats the whole point they are able to form really large molecules because the single outer electron in a very high orbital level (principal quantum number typically ~n=80) can in effect behave like a Hydrogen ion. Rydberg molecules can then be constructed from Rydberg atoms in the same manner as Hydrogen.

    I bet this only works when it is supercooled as any molecules would be extremely unstable as the outermost electron could return to 'normal' levels at any moment. If you slow the electrons down enough and get the nucleus to the right distance then you can very briefly form a molecule.

    [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_mechanics"]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_mechanics[/ame]
    [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Principal_quantum_number"]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Principal_quantum_number[/ame]
    [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basic_quantum_mechanics"]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basic_quantum_mechanics[/ame]
    Last edited by somabc; 23rd April 2009 at 04:20 PM.

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    CHR1S's Avatar
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    So yeh....

    What does it do? Refreshes parts other molecules dont reach?

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    somabc's Avatar
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    The BBC News write up gives some details on the experiments.


    A Rydberg atom is special because it has one electron alone in an outermost orbit - very far, in atomic terms, from its nucleus.

    Back in 1934 Enrico Fermi predicted that if another atom were to "find" that lone, wandering electron, it might interact with it.

    "But Fermi never imagined that molecules could be formed," explained Chris Greene, the theoretical physicist from the University of Colorado who first predicted that Rydberg molecules could exist.

    "We recognised, in our work in the 1970s and 80s, the potential for a sort of forcefield between a Rydberg atom and a groundstate [or normal] atom.

    "It's only now that you can get systems so cold, that you can actually make them."

    Unimaginably cold temperatures are needed to create the molecules, as Vera Bendkowsky from the University of Stuttgart who led the research explained.

    "The nuclei of the atoms have to be at the correct distance from each other for the electron fields to find each other and interact," she said.

    "We use an ultracold cloud of rubidium - as you cool it, the atoms in the gas move closer together."

    The researchers excite an atom to the "Rydberg state" using a laser

    At temperatures very close to absolute zero - minus 273C - this "critical distance" of about 100nm (nanometres - 1nm = one millionth of a millimetre) between the atoms is reached.

    When one is a Rydberg atom, the two atoms form a Rydberg molecule. This 100nm gap is vast compared to ordinary molecules.

    "The Rydberg electron resembles a sheepdog that keeps its flock together by roaming speedily to the outermost periphery of the flock, and nudging back towards the centre any member that might begin to drift away," said Professor Greene.

    Pushing this electron out to its lonely periphery - and make a Rydberg atom - requires energy.

    "We excite the atoms to the Rydberg stage with a laser," explained Dr Bendkowsky.

    "If we have a gas at the critical density, with two atoms at the correct distance that are able to form the molecule, and we excite one to the Rydberg state, then we can form a molecule."

    This ultracold experiment is also ultra-fast - the longest lived Rydberg molecule survives for just 18 microseconds.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CHR1S View Post
    So yeh....

    What does it do? Refreshes parts other molecules dont reach?
    Thats the problem with research, it doesn't do very much by itself. Your average scientific publication isn't usually that fantastic - but over time research builds upon research until it snowballs into a product of some type (many years or decades later). Often nothing really happens (has anyone found a use for buckyballs yet?)

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    CHR1S (23rd April 2009)

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    Quote Originally Posted by somabc View Post
    Just! Thats the whole point they are able to form really large molecules because the single outer electron in a very high orbital level (principal quantum number typically ~n=80) can in effect behave like a Hydrogen ion. Rydberg molecules can then be constructed from Rydberg atoms in the same manner as Hydrogen.

    I bet this only works when it is supercooled as any molecules would be extremely unstable as the outermost electron could return to 'normal' levels at any moment.

    Quantum mechanics - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Principal quantum number - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Introduction to quantum mechanics - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Yeap, it is a 'little' unstable - 18 microseconds at minus 273C. The just was to try and minimise the technical nature of it. Yes this is a new way of linking atoms and while the altered atoms are huge until they figure out a way of stabelising it (unlikely) or easily ataining near absolute zero temperatures the actual usage of this is very limited in anything other than in a research prospective to prove other things. It is definatly an achivement and a good thing but for the moment its uses are limited. In answer to what it does, it helps with research and proving theories. It could also be useful for producing microwaves with a very specific frequency in a lab and it will have tones of research usage. As to what is does for you today, not much.

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