Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

How To Herd Atoms: Researchers Observe Self-organization Of Atoms In Circular Atomic Pens

Date:
December 6, 2006
Source:
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft
Summary:
Max Planck researchers in Halle observe self-organization of atoms in circular atomic pens.

An elliptical pen made of cobalt atoms set on a substrate of copper atoms. The electrons in this pen behave like standing waves in a pond.
Credit: Image : Max Planck Institute for Microstructure Physics

It has long been known that it is possible to confine electrons or atoms in atomic structures in the same way as sheep can be shut in a pen. Physicists at the Max Planck Institute for Microstructure Physics in Halle have now discovered a strange thing: if the atomic fences have the right shape and the substrate, temperature and other parameters are adjusted appropriately, then randomly vapour-deposited atoms arrange themselves in regular structures within the circular fencing - as if they were sheep arranging themselves neatly in a pen (Physical Review Letters, 2nd November 2006).

For some years, numerous groups of researchers all over the world have been concentrating on forcing conduction electrons (the electrons used for the conduction of electronic current) on the surface of certain materials into patterns using deliberately planted atoms. Their intention is to influence the growth of thin films of material. When new atoms, called adatoms, are vapour-deposited on these electron structures, electrical attraction and repulsion makes them more likely to settle in some areas rather than others, depending on the density of electrons on the material. Physicists hope that they will be able to create thin films of material with predetermined characteristics by tailoring the density of electrons.

The researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Microstructure Physics together with physicists from the University of Halle and the University of Santiago de Compostella in Spain have investigated a special form of electronic structure. They observed electrons in a dense, closed ellipsis of cobalt atoms on a copper substrate. The conduction electrons can be imagined like a gas or a liquid; they form standing waves in circular atomic "pens" similar to waves in a small pond.

The physicists then simulated the effects of vapour-depositing cobalt adatoms. The new atoms interact with the cobalt atoms in the pen and with the enclosed electrons. There are tiny fluctuations in the energy levels which only have an effect at low temperatures of around 10 to 20 kelvins. These fluctuations cause the adatoms to prefer to move to positions with higher densities of electrons, provided the number of vapour-deposited adatoms is correct, the temperature is low enough and the pen sufficiently secure.

The cobalt atoms arrange themselves, so to speak, like the waves in a pond of electrons in ellipses. With adatoms, which can move more easily at lower temperatures, - for example atoms of the element cerium and a circular enclosure, the researchers created regular structures on the circles themselves; this was similar to allowing sheep to run randomly into a pen where they obediently line up, spaced at regular intervals and in concentric circles.

The next step will be to offer experimental proof of the simulations, which should be possible with current atomic scanning force microscopy, and to find new ways to create thin films.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Max-Planck-Gesellschaft. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Max-Planck-Gesellschaft. "How To Herd Atoms: Researchers Observe Self-organization Of Atoms In Circular Atomic Pens." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 December 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/12/061204093516.htm>.
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft. (2006, December 6). How To Herd Atoms: Researchers Observe Self-organization Of Atoms In Circular Atomic Pens. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/12/061204093516.htm
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft. "How To Herd Atoms: Researchers Observe Self-organization Of Atoms In Circular Atomic Pens." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/12/061204093516.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Government Approves East Coast Oil Exploration

Government Approves East Coast Oil Exploration

AP (July 18, 2014) The Obama administration approved the use of sonic cannons to discover deposits under the ocean floor by shooting sound waves 100 times louder than a jet engine through waters shared by endangered whales and turtles. (July 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sunken German U-Boat Clearly Visible For First Time

Sunken German U-Boat Clearly Visible For First Time

Newsy (July 18, 2014) The wreckage of the German submarine U-166 has become clearly visible for the first time since it was discovered in 2001. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: U.S. Must Have "smartest Airports, Best Power Grid"

Obama: U.S. Must Have "smartest Airports, Best Power Grid"

Reuters - US Online Video (July 17, 2014) President Barak Obama stopped by at a lunch counter in Delaware before making remarks about boosting the nation's infrastructure. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Crude Oil Prices Bounce Back After Falling Below $100 a Barrel

Crude Oil Prices Bounce Back After Falling Below $100 a Barrel

TheStreet (July 16, 2014) Oil Futures are bouncing back after tumbling below $100 a barrel for the first time since May yesterday. Jeff Grossman is the president of BRG Brokerage and trades at the NYMEX. Grossman tells TheStreet the Middle East is always a concern for oil traders. Oil prices were pushed down in recent weeks on Libya increasing its production. Supply disruptions in Iraq fading also contributed to prices falling. News from China's economic front showing a growth for the second quarter also calmed fears on its slowdown. Jeff Grossman talks to TheStreet's Susannah Lee on this and more on the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration (EIA) report. Video provided by TheStreet
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