Nowadays, ever smaller and more powerful computer chips are in demand. RUB physicists have discovered a new physical attraction that accelerates this progress. Prof. Dr. Padma Kant Shukla and Dr. Bengt Eliasson found a previously unknown phenomenon in quantum plasmas. A negatively charged potential makes it possible to combine positively charged particles (ions) in atom-like structures within the plasma. In this way, current can be conducted much more quickly and efficiently than before, opening new perspectives for nanotechnology. The researchers report on their findings in Physical Review Letters (in print).
Electrons and ions in ordinary plasmas
An ordinary plasma is an ionized electrically conducting gas consisting of positive (ions) and negative charge carriers (so-called non-degenerate electrons). This is the chief constituent of our solar system. On Earth, such plasmas among others can be used to produce energy in controlled thermonuclear fusion plasmas similar to the sun, or even to fight disease in the medical application field.
New effect on the atomic scale in quantum plasmas
Quantum plasmas extend the area of application to nano-scales, where quantum-mechanical effects gain significance. This is the case when, in comparison to normal plasmas, the plasma density is very high and the temperature is low. Then the newly discovered potential occurs, which is caused by collective interaction processes of degenerate electrons with the quantum plasma. Such plasmas can be found, for example, in cores of stars with a dwindling nuclear energy supply (white dwarfs), or they can be produced artificially in the laboratory by means of laser irradiation. The new negative potential causes an attractive force between the ions, which then form lattices. They are compressed and the distances between them shortened, so that current can flow through them much faster.
Microchips and semiconductors
The findings of the Bochum scientists open up the possibility of ion-crystallization on the magnitude scale of an atom. They have thus established a new direction of research that is capable of linking various disciplines of physics. Applications include micro-chips for quantum computers, semiconductors, thin metal foils or even metallic nano-structures.
P. K. Shukla and B. Eliasson (2012): Novel Attractive Force Between Ions in Quantum Plasmas, Physical Review Letters 108, in press.
Further informationProf. Dr. Dr. h. c. mult. Padma Kant Shukla, RUB International Chair, Department of Physics and Astronomy at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum, 44780 Bochum, 0234/32-23759, email@example.com
Editor: Marie-Astrid Reinartz
Dr. Josef König | idw
New quantum liquid crystals may play role in future of computers
21.04.2017 | California Institute of Technology
Light rays from a supernova bent by the curvature of space-time around a galaxy
21.04.2017 | Stockholm University
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
Two researchers at Heidelberg University have developed a model system that enables a better understanding of the processes in a quantum-physical experiment...
Glaciers might seem rather inhospitable environments. However, they are home to a diverse and vibrant microbial community. It’s becoming increasingly clear that they play a bigger role in the carbon cycle than previously thought.
A new study, now published in the journal Nature Geoscience, shows how microbial communities in melting glaciers contribute to the Earth’s carbon cycle, a...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
21.04.2017 | Health and Medicine
21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy