Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors





Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


android tablet pc

Home > Press > Physicists Engineer the Picture-Perfect Classical Atom

Abstract:
Picture the textbook atom. It would resemble a miniature solar system an atomic nucleus orbited by electrons, drawn in nice tidy elliptical orbits like planets orbiting the Sun. This is a reasonable classical depiction of an atom, but it is completely at odds with the usual quantum description of an atom. Now, a University of Virginia physicist has engineered, in a sense, the classical picture-perfect textbook atom.

Physicists Engineer the Picture-Perfect Classical Atom

Charlottesville, VA | Posted on April 13th, 2009

In the quantum energy states of a one-electron atom, the electron does not move in an orbit, but is described by a wave function, which, when squared, produces a probability cloud about the nucleus which does not change in time.

The electron can be in any given place at any given time, and at all places at once. That is quantum mechanics, an arena of physics so strange and complicated, even physicists admit it is hard to picture.

But University of Virginia physicist Tom Gallagher and his colleagues have engineered, in a sense, the classical picture-perfect textbook atom.

The physicists used a weak microwave field to lock together the time-dependent phase evolutions of the wave functions of several energy states. If only one energy state's wave function is present, its phase is of no consequence; but if there are two or more, the phases matter.

At any given time the wave functions add in one region of space and cancel in another. When the composite wave function is squared, the probability is localized, and it moves, just like the classical atom we picture.

Gallagher and his team recently published their results in Physical Review Letters (volume 102, page 103001).

Researchers at the University of Rochester originally suggested that making such classical atoms might be possible, noting the similarity to Lagrange points regions of space where gravity from a variety of points, such as planets, affect the orbits of other bodies in space, and can cancel out distant sources of gravity.

To realize such atoms in the laboratory, Gallagher and his team struck upon the idea of first locking the motion of an electron to a linearly polarized field, producing an atom in which the electron oscillates along a line, and then altering the microwave polarization to circular. The electron orbit follows the changing polarization, becoming a circular orbit.

"We honestly were quite surprised by how well we could manipulate the atom with our technique," Gallagher said. "We demonstrated that we can change the state of the atom in a way that was once considered impossible."

Carlos Stroud, a physicist at the University of Rochester, marveled at the quality of Gallagher's work in a commentary for the publication Physics; and he later described the experiment as "a beautiful piece of physics" for the magazine New Scientist.

Gallagher's co-authors are U.Va. graduate student Joshua Gurian and Haruka Maeda, now of the Japan Science and Technology Agency.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Fariss Samarrai
434-924-3778

Copyright © Newswise

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Graphene may be key to leap in supercapacitor performance August 20th, 2014

Newly-Developed Nanobiosensor Quickly Diagnoses Cancer August 20th, 2014

Ultrasonic Waves Applied in Production of Graphene Nanosheets August 20th, 2014

The channel that relaxes DNA: Relaxing DNA strands by using nano-channels: Instructions for use August 20th, 2014

Physics

Promising Ferroelectric Materials Suffer From Unexpected Electric Polarizations: Brookhaven Lab scientists find surprising locked charge polarizations that impede performance in next-gen materials that could otherwise revolutionize data-driven devices August 18th, 2014

Moore quantum materials: Recipe for serendipity - Moore Foundation grant will allow Rice physicist to explore quantum materials August 12th, 2014

Harry Atwater and Albert Polman receive the Julius Springer Prize for Applied Physics 2014: Scientists honored for their pioneering achievements in plasmonics and nanophotonics August 8th, 2014

Diamond defect interior design: Planting imperfections called 'NV centers' at specific spots within a diamond lattice could advance quantum computing and atomic-scale measurement August 5th, 2014

Discoveries

Newly-Developed Nanobiosensor Quickly Diagnoses Cancer August 20th, 2014

Ultrasonic Waves Applied in Production of Graphene Nanosheets August 20th, 2014

The channel that relaxes DNA: Relaxing DNA strands by using nano-channels: Instructions for use August 20th, 2014

Electrical engineers take major step toward photonic circuits: Team invents non-metallic metamaterial that enables them to 'compress' and contain light August 19th, 2014

Announcements

Graphene may be key to leap in supercapacitor performance August 20th, 2014

Newly-Developed Nanobiosensor Quickly Diagnoses Cancer August 20th, 2014

Ultrasonic Waves Applied in Production of Graphene Nanosheets August 20th, 2014

The channel that relaxes DNA: Relaxing DNA strands by using nano-channels: Instructions for use August 20th, 2014

Quantum nanoscience

Molecular engineers record an electron's quantum behavior August 14th, 2014

Moore quantum materials: Recipe for serendipity - Moore Foundation grant will allow Rice physicist to explore quantum materials August 12th, 2014

Measuring the Smallest Magnets July 28th, 2014

Physicists Use Computer Models to Reveal Quantum Effects in Biological Oxygen Transport: The team solved a long-standing question by explaining why oxygen and not deadly carbon monoxide preferably binds to the proteins that transport it around the body. July 17th, 2014

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More














ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







© Copyright 1999-2014 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE