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 Scientists create biodegradable, paper-based biobatteries
08.08.2018 | Binghamton University

nachricht Ricocheting radio waves monitor the tiniest movements in a room
07.08.2018 | Duke University

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: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

Im Focus: Lining up surprising behaviors of superconductor with one of the world's strongest magnets

Scientists have discovered that the electrical resistance of a copper-oxide compound depends on the magnetic field in a very unusual way -- a finding that could help direct the search for materials that can perfectly conduct electricity at room temperatur

What happens when really powerful magnets--capable of producing magnetic fields nearly two million times stronger than Earth's--are applied to materials that...

Im Focus: World record: Fastest 3-D tomographic images at BESSY II

The quality of materials often depends on the manufacturing process. In casting and welding, for example, the rate at which melts solidify and the resulting microstructure of the alloy is important. With metallic foams as well, it depends on exactly how the foaming process takes place. To understand these processes fully requires fast sensing capability. The fastest 3D tomographic images to date have now been achieved at the BESSY II X-ray source operated by the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin.

Dr. Francisco Garcia-Moreno and his team have designed a turntable that rotates ultra-stably about its axis at a constant rotational speed. This really depends...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

2018 Work Research Conference

25.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

'Building up' stretchable electronics to be as multipurpose as your smartphone

14.08.2018 | Information Technology

During HIV infection, antibody can block B cells from fighting pathogens

14.08.2018 | Life Sciences

First study on physical properties of giant cancer cells may inform new treatments

14.08.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>