An international team of physicists has succeeded in mapping the condensation of individual atoms, or rather their transition from a gaseous state to another state, using a new method. Led by the Swiss Nanoscience Institute and the Department of Physics at the University of Basel, the team was able to monitor for the first time how xenon atoms condensate in microscopic measuring beakers, or quantum wells, thereby enabling key conclusions to be drawn as to the nature of atomic bonding. The researchers published their results in the journal Nature Communications.
The team headed by Professor Thomas Jung, which consists of researchers from the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, Department of Physics at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute, developed a method enabling the condensation of individual atoms to be mapped on a step by step basis for the first time. The researchers allowed atoms of the noble gas xenon to condensate in quantum wells and monitored the resulting accumulations using a scanning tunneling microscope.
Quantum wells as beakers
The autonomous organization of specifically 'programmed' molecules facilitates the creation of a porous network on a substrate surface – these are the quantum wells used as measuring beakers with a specifically defined size, shape and atomic wall and floor structure. The atoms' freedom of movement is restricted in the quantum wells, allowing the arrangement of the atoms to be closely monitored and mapped depending on the composition.
With this data, the researchers were able to show that the xenon atoms always arrange themselves according to a certain principle. For example, some units consisting of four atoms are only formed when there are at least seven atoms in the quantum well. And if there are twelve atoms in the quantum well, this results in the creation of three highly stable four-atom units.
Conclusions about the nature of bonding
The images and structures of nano-condensates recorded for the first time allow key conclusions to be drawn as to the nature of the physical bonds formed by the xenon atoms. "But this system is not restricted exclusively to noble gases," says Sylwia Nowakowska, lead author of the publication. "We can also use it to research other atoms and the way that they bond." As the newly developed method accurately maps atomic bonding and determines the stability of the various states, it can also be used to verify theoretical calculations about bonds.
The results of the study are based on a collaboration between researchers from Switzerland, Brazil, Sweden, Germany and the Netherlands, and were published in the current issue of the scientific journal Nature Communications.
Prof. Thomas Jung, Swiss Nanoscience Institute (SNI), University of Basel, cell:+41 79 222 45 36 , email : email@example.com
Olivia Poisson | Universität Basel
Hope to discover sure signs of life on Mars? New research says look for the element vanadium
22.09.2017 | University of Kansas
22.09.2017 | Forschungszentrum MATHEON ECMath
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
19.09.2017 | Event News
12.09.2017 | Event News
06.09.2017 | Event News
22.09.2017 | Life Sciences
22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering
22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy