Atoms have the habit of jumping through solids - a practice that physicists have recently been able to follow for the first time using a brand new method. This scientific advance was made possible thanks to the utilisation of cutting-edge X-ray sources, known as electron synchrotrons.
The detailed findings of the project, backed by the Austrian Science Fund FWF, were recently published in the prestigious journal NATURE MATERIALS. The work unlocks new potential for the study of material ageing processes at the atomic level.Now and then, things can get pretty "wild" in solids. For example, billions of atoms in a gold ring can shift position every second. However, it is not just ordinary people who cannot see the atoms jumping around - physicists too have long been unable to witness this process for themselves. However, there is one very good reason in particular why scientists should want to change all that. The restlessness of atoms is responsible for ageing, and therefore the loss of specific material properties.
Ramona Seba | University of Vienna
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