Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Physics research removes outcome unpredictability of ultracold atomic reactions

26.08.2014

Findings from a physics study by a Kansas State University researcher are helping scientists accurately predict the once unpredictable.

Yujun Wang, research associate with the James R. Macdonald Laboratory at Kansas State University, and Paul Julienne at the University of Maryland, looked at theoretically predicting and understanding chemical reactions that involve three atoms at ultracold temperatures. Their findings help explain the likely outcome of a chemical reaction and shed new light on mysterious quantum states.


Probability density -- given by the radius of the surface points to the origin -- of an Efimov trimer state at different three-body geometries that are characterized by the polar angle -- indicated by the trimer legends. The azimuthal angle characterizes the permutation of three atoms. The key feature in the probability density is that unlike ordinary molecular binding that mostly has a single geometry, the Efimov trimer covers have a broad range of geometries. The atoms in such states behave more like in a fluid drop.

Credit: Yujun Wang, Kansas State University.

The scientific journal Nature Physics recently published their findings in the article "Universal van der Waals Physics for Three Cold Atoms near Feshbach Resonances."

In the theoretical study, Wang and Julienne developed a robust yet simple model that successfully predicts what happens in atomic reactions at ultracold temperatures. Their model, which is considered the best available, accounts for spin physics of the atoms as well as the van der Waals force — the attractive long-range forces between the forming molecules.

"For a long time there has been the belief that this kind of reaction in three or more particles is too difficult to predict because the interaction is so complicated," Wang said. "Now, this research has shown consistent observations that indicate and imply that theoretical prediction is possible."

These findings can guide research in chemical engineering, molecular physics and other fields because the model gives scientists a largely accurate idea of how the atoms will bind to form a molecule, Wang said.

Additionally, their work may help scientists understand the Efimov effect.

The Efimov effect, which was first predicted in the early 1970s, is what happens when two atoms that normally repel each other become loosely bound when a third atom is introduced. The result is three atoms that all stick together despite trying to repel each other — a reaction that defies conventional knowledge.

"It's a very bizarre mechanical phenomenon in quantum mechanics that cannot be understood using the classical model of physics," Wang said. "The details of the Efimov effect are seemingly random and therefore complicated to study. But, because we showed that our atomic model and calculations can pretty accurately predict the position of such molecular states, we have new knowledge that may help us bypass those old barriers."

###

The study was funded through the Air Force Office of Scientific Research's Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative Program and the National Science Foundation.

Wang, an alumnus, received his doctorate from Kansas State University in 2010.

Yujun Wang | Eurek Alert!
Further information:
http://www.k-state.edu

Further reports about: Multidisciplinary Physics observations outcome reactions temperatures

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht What happens when we heat the atomic lattice of a magnet all of a sudden?
18.07.2018 | Forschungsverbund Berlin

nachricht Subaru Telescope helps pinpoint origin of ultra-high energy neutrino
16.07.2018 | National Institutes of Natural Sciences

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

NYSCF researchers develop novel bioengineering technique for personalized bone grafts

18.07.2018 | Life Sciences

Machine-learning predicted a superhard and high-energy-density tungsten nitride

18.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

Why might reading make myopic?

18.07.2018 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>