Hoffmann, a computational chemist, and his colleagues Tryve Helgaker, a well-known Norwegian scientist, and co-authors E.I. Tellgren and K. Lange, also working in Norway, have discovered a molecular-level interaction that science had puzzled over for decades but had never seen.
That discovery, it turns out, may redefine how science views chemical compound formation. It also answers questions about what goes on in places like white dwarfs, the super dense cores of stars nearing the end of their life cycles.
“We discovered a new type of chemical bonding,” said Hoffmann, known globally for his pioneering work in the theory and computer modeling of chemical compound formation.
“That’s a pretty bold statement, but I’m not kidding you! It’s a brand new type of chemical bonding, not previously known to science.”
Hoffmann and his colleagues have rewritten the chemical rule book for assessing what happens in the night sky. It’s about answering timeless questions such as how stars form, evolve, and eventually die.
Their work also provides the secret for how some compounds form in the distant universe. This momentous discovery appears in an article in a recent issue of the internationally respected journal Science.
“Our discovery addresses one of the mysteries in astrophysics about the spectrum of white dwarf stars,” Hoffmann said. “White dwarfs have an unusual spectrum that has been thought to result from polymerized hydrogen and helium which, of course, do not occur on Earth.
“It’s possible out there because the magnetic fields on white dwarfs are several orders of magnitude larger than anything that can be generated on Earth.”
The closest white dwarf, Sirius B, is a faint twin to the brightest star in the night sky, Sirius A. It’s about the same size as our sun, but much denser; its average density is 1.7 metric tons per cubic centimeter, or about 3,000 pounds compressed into a box the size of a sugar cube.Hoffmann and his team described a magnetically induced bonding process between materials.
“There was speculation that this phenomenon should exist, but no one had the proof, and no one — until the team I’m on described the process — had the theoretical structure and the computational tools to address this,” he said.
On Earth, even the boldest military experiments generate a peak of maybe 1,000 Tesla — a measure of magnetic force (refrigerator magnets generate a thousandth of one Tesla). But on Sirius B, for example, magnetic fields are on the order of 200,000 to 400,000 Tesla, enough to challenge the electronic interactions that dominate the chemistry and material science we know on Earth.
Such vast magnetic fields directly alter the way atoms come together, and can alter the chemical reality we know on Earth.
“What we had before we discovered this was basically a paper-and-pencil model of what goes on in the universe. Compared to what’s out there in places such as white dwarf stars, the magnetic fields we can generate here — even with the strongest magnets — are pathetic.”
So how did they do it?
“We computationally modeled the behavior that we theorized, based on universally applicable physical principles,” Hoffmann said.
The team’s computer model supported their theory. Now it’s up to astrophysicists to test the model by old-fashioned observation of the stars.
David Dodds | Newswise
Seeing the quantum future... literally
16.01.2017 | University of Sydney
Airborne thermometer to measure Arctic temperatures
11.01.2017 | Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).
Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...
Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.
The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...
UMD, NOAA collaboration demonstrates suitability of in-orbit datasets for weather satellite calibration
"Traffic and weather, together on the hour!" blasts your local radio station, while your smartphone knows the weather halfway across the world. A network of...
Fiber-reinforced plastics (FRP) are frequently used in the aeronautic and automobile industry. However, the repair of workpieces made of these composite materials is often less profitable than exchanging the part. In order to increase the lifetime of FRP parts and to make them more eco-efficient, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) and the Apodius GmbH want to combine a new measuring device for fiber layer orientation with an innovative laser-based repair process.
Defects in FRP pieces may be production or operation-related. Whether or not repair is cost-effective depends on the geometry of the defective area, the tools...
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
05.01.2017 | Event News
16.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
16.01.2017 | Information Technology
16.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering