Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

The interplay of dancing electrons

29.11.2011
Negative ions play an important role in everything from how our bodies function to the structure of the universe. Scientists from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, have now developed a new method that makes it possible to study how the electrons in negative ions interact in, which is important in, for example, superconductors and in radiocarbon dating.

“By studying atoms with a negative charge, ‘negative ions’, we can learn how electrons coordinate their motion in what can be compared to a tightly choreographed dance. Such knowledge is important in understanding phenomena in which the interaction between electrons is important, such as in superconductors”, says Anton Lindahl of the Department of Physics at the University of Gothenburg.

A negative ion is an atom that has captured an extra electron, giving it a negative charge. Negative ions are formed, for example, when salt dissolves in water. We have many different types of negative ion in our bodies of which the most common is chloride ions. These are important in the fluid balance of the cells and the function of nervous system, among other processes.

Increased knowledge about negative ions may lead to a better understanding of our origin. This is because negative ions play an important role in the chemical reactions that take place in space, being highly significant in such processes as the formation of molecules from free atoms. These molecules may have been important building blocks in the origin of life.

“I have worked with ions in a vacuum, not in water as in the body. In order to be able to study the properties of individual ions, we isolate them in a vacuum chamber at extremely low pressure. This pressure is even lower than the pressure outside of the International Space Station, ISS.”

Anton Lindahl’s doctoral thesis describes studies in which he used laser spectroscopy to study how the electrons in negative ions interact.

“In order to be able to carry out these studies, I have had to develop measurement methods and build experimental equipment. The measurements that the new equipment makes possible will increase our understanding of the dance-like interplay.”

The new measurement methods that Anton has developed are important in a number of applications. One example is the measurement of trace substances in a technique known as ‘accelerator mass spectrometry’ or AMS. The technology and knowledge from Gothenburg are being used in a collaborative project between scientists in Gothenburg, Vienna (Austria) and Oak Ridge (USA) to increase the sensitivity of AMS measurements. One application of AMS is radiocarbon dating, which determines the age of organic matter. Another application is measurements on ice cores drilled from polar ice, which can be used to investigate the climate hundreds of thousands of years into the past.

The thesis Two-Electron Excitations in Negative Ions has been successfully defended at the University of Gothenburg. Supervisor: Dag Hanstorp.

Bibliography:
Authors: C. Diehl, K. Wendt, A. O. Lindahl, P. Andersson, and D. Hanstorp
Title: Ion optical design of a collinear laser-negative ion beamapparatus
Journal: Review of Scientific Instruments, 82, 053302 (2011) http://rsi.aip.org/resource/1/rsinak/v82/i5/p053302_s1?isAuthorized=no

Helena Aaberg | idw
Further information:
http://hdl.handle.net/2077/26757

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht How protons move through a fuel cell
22.06.2017 | Empa - Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt

nachricht Fraunhofer IZFP acquires lucrative EU project for increasing nuclear power plant safety
21.06.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Zerstörungsfreie Prüfverfahren IZFP

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Study shines light on brain cells that coordinate movement

26.06.2017 | Life Sciences

Smooth propagation of spin waves using gold

26.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Switchable DNA mini-machines store information

26.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>