Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Ultracold Plasmas Are A Chilling Puzzle

Date:
December 11, 2001
Source:
National Institute Of Standards And Technology
Summary:
Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Physics Laboratory have created “ultracold” plasmas—with the electrons about a degree above absolute zero—by cooling neutral atoms to within a hundred-thousandth of a degree of absolute zero and then zapping them with just enough laser energy to separate the electrons and ions to achieve the plasma state.

Plasmas, which include the bright glowy stuff in a fluorescent lamp, are clouds in which ions and free electrons move around independently as charged particles.

Plasma is thought to be the most common form of matter in the universe, but it’s usually pretty hot. The plasma in a solar corona can have a temperature in the millions of degrees.

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Physics Laboratory, however, have created “ultracold” plasmas—with the electrons about a degree above absolute zero—by cooling neutral atoms to within a hundred-thousandth of a degree of absolute zero and then zapping them with just enough laser energy to separate the electrons and ions to achieve the plasma state.

One of the key measures of any plasma is the recombination rate—how fast the ions and electrons recombine to form neutral atoms.

Theory says there are three main recombination processes, and their efficiency varies in a known way with temperature and density.

However, NIST physicist Steven Rolston says that in practice, an expanding ultracold plasma recombines much faster than expected at very low densities—so much faster that no existing theory describes it.

Rolston and his group are continuing to refine their experiments to explain the behavior of ultracold plasmas, which, although they only exist in earthly labs, are thought to model the interior of white dwarf stars or gas giant planets like Jupiter.

The research also may uncover a path to synthesizing “anti-hydrogen” atoms, the antimatter equivalent of hydrogen. Precise comparisons of the properties of such antimatter twins may probe the fundamental nature of the forces that bind matter and the universe together.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Institute Of Standards And Technology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

National Institute Of Standards And Technology. "Ultracold Plasmas Are A Chilling Puzzle." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 December 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/12/011210071925.htm>.
National Institute Of Standards And Technology. (2001, December 11). Ultracold Plasmas Are A Chilling Puzzle. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/12/011210071925.htm
National Institute Of Standards And Technology. "Ultracold Plasmas Are A Chilling Puzzle." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/12/011210071925.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

AP (July 24, 2014) Mobile phone companies and communities across the country are going to new lengths to disguise those unsightly cellphone towers. From a church bell tower to a flagpole, even a pencil, some towers are trying to make a point. (July 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Algonquin Power Goes Activist on Its Target Gas Natural

Algonquin Power Goes Activist on Its Target Gas Natural

TheStreet (July 23, 2014) When The Deal's Amanda Levin exclusively reported that Gas Natural had been talking to potential suitors, the Ohio company responded with a flat denial, claiming its board had not talked to anyone about a possible sale. Lo and behold, Canadian utility Algonquin Power and Utilities not only had approached the company, but it did it three times. Its last offer was for $13 per share as Gas Natural's was trading at a 60-day moving average of about $12.50 per share. Now Algonquin, which has a 4.9% stake in Gas Natural, has taken its case to shareholders, calling on them to back its proposals or, possibly, a change in the target's board. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-Free Travel

Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-Free Travel

AP (July 23, 2014) 'Ray' the robotic parking valet at Dusseldorf Airport in Germany lets travelers to avoid the hassle of finding a parking spot before heading to the check-in desk. (July 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Boeing Ups Outlook on 52% Profit Jump

Boeing Ups Outlook on 52% Profit Jump

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 23, 2014) Commercial aircraft deliveries rose seven percent at Boeing, prompting the aerospace company to boost full-year profit guidance- though quarterly revenues missed analyst estimates. Bobbi Rebell reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins