A new study shows that electron interactions may have nearly the same importance as chemical luminescence in exciting the atmospheric molecules that cause auroras. Campbell et al. suggest that nitric oxide molecules are promoted into potentially glowing, vibrational excited levels by a short-lived negative ion that is formed as a result of electron impact. Previous studies had reported that chemiluminescence, where nitrogen and oxygen molecules interact to form excited nitric oxide, was the main source of auroral lights produced by nitric oxide molecules. The authors analyzed the electron interactions with nitric oxide molecules in the upper atmosphere and found that the momentary (10-100 femtoseconds or quadrillionths of a second) creation of a negative ion increases the probability of producing the excitation levels that are responsible for auroral lights by up to two orders of magnitude.
They suggest that the electron-driven effect results from a chance convergence of nitric oxide’s molecular structure and the natural distribution of electrons in the upper atmosphere.
Title: Infrared auroral emissions driven by resonant electron impact excitation of NO molecules
Laurence Campbell | Geophysical Research Letters
UCI and NASA document accelerated glacier melting in West Antarctica
26.10.2016 | University of California - Irvine
Ice shelf vibrations cause unusual waves in Antarctic atmosphere
25.10.2016 | American Geophysical Union
Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.
This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...
Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion
Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
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27.10.2016 | Life Sciences