Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Physicists Create Millimeter-sized 'Bohr Atom'

Date:
July 1, 2008
Source:
Rice University
Summary:
Nearly a century after Danish physicist Niels Bohr offered his planet-like model of the hydrogen atom, physicists have created giant, millimeter-sized atoms that resemble it more closely than any other experimental realization yet achieved. The scientists used lasers and electric fields to coax potassium atoms into a precise configuration with one point-like, "localized" electron orbiting far from the nucleus.

Using laser beams and electric fields, Rice physicists coaxed a point-like, "localized" electron to orbit far from the nucleus of a potassium atom.
Credit: Jeff Mestayer / Rice University

Nearly a century after Danish physicist Niels Bohr offered his planet-like model of the hydrogen atom, a Rice University-led team of physicists has created giant, millimeter-sized atoms that resemble it more closely than any other experimental realization yet achieved.

Related Articles


Bohr offered the first successful theoretical model of the atom in 1913, suggesting that electrons traveled in orbits around the atom's nucleus like planets orbiting a star. Bohr's model led to a deeper understanding of both the chemical and optical properties of atoms and won him a Nobel Prize in 1922. But his notion of electrons traveling in discrete orbits was eventually displaced by quantum mechanics, which revealed that electrons don't have precise positions but are instead distributed in wave-like patterns.

"In a sufficiently large system, the quantum effects at the atomic scale can transition into the classical mechanics found in Bohr's model," said lead researcher Barry Dunning, Rice's Sam and Helen Worden Professor of Physics and Astronomy. "Using highly excited Rydberg atoms and a series of pulsed electric fields, we were able to manipulate the electron motion and create circular, planet-like states."

The team included members from Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Vienna University of Technology. Using lasers, the researchers excited potassium atoms to extremely high levels. Using a carefully tailored series of short electric pulses, the team was then able to coax the atoms into a precise configuration with one point-like, "localized" electron orbiting far from the nucleus. In fact, the atoms are true atomic giants, with diameters approaching one millimeter.

"Our measurements show that the electrons remain localized for several orbits and behave much as classical particles," Dunning said.

He said the work has potential applications in next-generation computers and in the study of classical and quantum chaos.

The research is available online in Physical Review Letters. Co-authors include Rice graduate students Jeffery Mestayer and Brendan Wyker, Rice postdoctoral researcher Jim Lancaster, Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Carlos Reinhold and the Vienna University of Technology's Shuhei Yoshida and Joachim Burgdφrfer. The research was supported by the National Science Foundation, the Robert A. Welch Foundation, the Department of Energy and the Austrian Science Fund.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Rice University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Rice University. "Physicists Create Millimeter-sized 'Bohr Atom'." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 July 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080630173921.htm>.
Rice University. (2008, July 1). Physicists Create Millimeter-sized 'Bohr Atom'. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080630173921.htm
Rice University. "Physicists Create Millimeter-sized 'Bohr Atom'." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080630173921.htm (accessed December 18, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

3D Printed Cookies Just in Time for Christmas

3D Printed Cookies Just in Time for Christmas

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) — A tech company in Spain have combined technology with cuisine to develop the 'Foodini', a 3D printer designed to print the perfect cookie for Santa. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Sony Hopes To Make Any Glasses 'Smart'

How Sony Hopes To Make Any Glasses 'Smart'

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) — Sony's glasses module attaches to the temples of various eye- and sunglasses to add a display and wireless connectivity. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Los Angeles Police To Receive 7,000 Body Cameras

Los Angeles Police To Receive 7,000 Body Cameras

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) — Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the cameras will be distributed starting Jan. 1. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jaguar Unveils 360° Virtual Windshield Making Car Pillars Appear Transparent

Jaguar Unveils 360° Virtual Windshield Making Car Pillars Appear Transparent

Buzz60 (Dec. 17, 2014) — Jaguar unveils a virtual 360 degree windshield that may be the most futuristic automotive development yet. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

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